EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. THE NEW YORK Giants were guilty of an inexcusable oversight Sunday, keeping All-Pro linebacker Lawrence Taylor on the field in the waning moments of an already-secured 20-3 win over Miami.
But it appears they may get off with a light sentence in spite of their negligence.
Taylor came up lame on the game's final play when he tried to beat Miami tackle Richmond Webb on an outside pass rush. L.T. started hobbling in mid-rush and gimped into the locker room with a pulled hamstring. There's the possibility that Taylor will play this week, but it's unlikely. After a lengthy holdout, Taylor participated in only three practices before starting the season.
The 3-0 Giants catch the woeful Dallas Wowboys next Sunday, then draw a Week 5 bye with the rest of the NFC East. Week 6 brings the Giants to RFK Stadium to play the Redskins, and even there the Giants may catch a break. Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien, who sprained his knee yesterday, still may be out.
Taylor is shooting for the Redskins game. But if he misses that, it's doubtful the Giants will need him the following week . . . when they host Phoenix.
Both Bill Parcells, the head coach, and Bill Belicheck, the defensive coordinator, share blame for the L.T. oversight. Substitution is basically Belicheck's responsibility, but Parcells was seen waving in reserves Kent Wells and Mike Fox at the end of the game. Johnie Cooks, Taylor's replacement, didn't get the call, though.
After the game, Parcells was a tad testy. Asked why Taylor was still in the game at that point, he said, "I can't think for everybody around here."
Did that mean he was mad at the defensive coordinator?
"I don't mean any [bleeping] thing, OK?" he snapped. "You got me? I don't mean anything."
We got ya, Bill.
* RUN-AND-HIDE: Don't expect the run-and-shoot to become the offense of the '90s. The Lions, Falcons and Oilers -- three teams that use the scheme -- are all 1-2. The Oilers rushed for 69 yards Sunday and the Falcons for 49. Only the Lions, who ran for 155, have been able to incorporate a running game in the four wide receiver, no tight end offense.
Most of Detroit's rushing yardage (97) came from quarterback Rodney Peete last week, though. Barry Sanders, the NFL's Rookie of the Year last year, is averaging 16 carries and 62 yards so far. What a waste.
Why are the rushing totals important? On Sunday, nine of the NFL's 13 winning teams rushed for 125 yards or more. Ten of the 13 ran the ball at least 30 times. Conversely, only three of the 13 losers ran for 125 yards and only two had at least 30 carries.
* SQUIB KICKS: Dave Meggett made a statement about the Giants' reluctance to extend his contract when he skipped last Wednesday's practice (saying he was ill). Sunday he provided the exclamation point. The former Towson State Tiger had four receptions for 93 yards and three went for first downs.
Miami cornerback J.B. Brown, a former Terp, is the first Dolphin to start after joining the team as a last-round draft pick. A 12th-rounder in 1989, he also is the lowest-round pick to start since 1970 when the draft was 17 rounds.
The Colts' defense has allowed an amazing 73 percent completions . . . The 3-0 Raiders have scored all four of their offensive touchdowns in the fourth quarter . . . The Steelers (1-2) still don't have an offensive TD . . . Playing behind a tattered line, Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar has been sacked 13 times already . . . This is how the Colts go into Sunday's game at Philadelphia: Starting quarterback Jeff George has an abdominal strain, backup Jack Trudeau has a swollen left hand and third-stringer Mark Herrmann is out six weeks with a separated shoulder.
Dolphins coach Don Shula, who helped bring in instant replay, was victimized by it against the Giants. Wide receiver Mark Clayton was credited with a reception and fumble early in the third quarter on the Miami 10. L.T. recovered and the Giants scored to snuff out any chance the Dolphins had of coming back. Clayton said he didn't have control of the ball and therefore it wasn't a completion. Shula concurred. "There wasn't any question he didn't have control of the football," he said. "It should have been reversed."
Isn't it time to get rid of instant replay?