BENNY BOMBS THE BEARS
Frozen Out Giants’ Big Stop in the Snow Beats Broncos
After starting the 1989 season 8-1, the Giants hit a rough patch and dropped three of the next four games. Headed for a road game in Denver with Lawrence Taylor unlikely to play, New York’s run for the playoffs was beginning to disintegrate. Moreover, at game time the temperature was 23 degrees with a 15-mph wind and heavy snow falling. It was a day for defense, and led by inside linebacker Gary Reasons’s 14 tackles, the Giants delivered.
New York got the ball for the first time on its own 15-yard line. A slow, steady 15-play mix of runs and passes culminated eight minutes and 53 seconds later with an Ottis Anderson three-yard touchdown run at the outset of the second quarter. Five minutes later, the Giants got the ball again in great field position after Dave Meggett’s
26-yard punt return put the ball on the Denver 36. However, a penalty and a sack left the Giants with a seemingly impossible third-and-31 from their own 43. Phil Simms dropped back and flipped a little screen pass out to Meggett, who juggled the ball before securing it and took off with blockers in front of him. Meggett juked by a couple of Broncos and then cut back across the field and outran the Denver defenders to the end zone for a spectacularly unlikely 57-yard score that put New York up 14-0 in the first half.
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From there, the Giants’ defense took over. In one remarkable sequence in the third quarter, Leonard Marshall, who provided pressure on quarterback John Elway all day, drew two holding calls against Broncos tackle Gerald Perry that wiped out Denver gains of 50 and 22 yards in addition to the 20 yards in penalties.
Later in the third period, Elway drove the Broncos to the Giants’ 1. On third-and-goal from the 1, Bobby Humphrey ran left out of the I-formation and was stopped by linebacker Steve DeOssie just half a yard from the end zone. On fourth down, Humphrey went right from the I-formation, but Gary Reasons read the play perfectly and leapt into the hole where Humphrey was headed, meeting him with a thunderous hit that knocked Humphrey backward while Reasons wrapped him up and sent the Broncos’ offense off the field. The two banged helmets so hard that Humphrey’s earflap went flying out of his headgear. Parcells said, “It was a big-time hit. It will probably be in the highlight reel” It was the key play of the game.
Gary Reasons leads the triumphant Giants defense off the field after a thrilling goal-line stand in which Reasons stoned Broncos runner Bobby Humphrey at the 1-yard line on fourth down. (Photo courtesy of WireImages)
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