WASHINGTON -- Mark Rypien pulled off a personal comeback yesterday, and now he wants to lead a team comeback.
"I'll be darned if I'm going to [wallow] in mediocrity. Each and every one of us has to look ourselves in the mirror and see where we can get better," the Washington Redskins quarterback said after his team was drilled, 41-7, by the New York Giants.
Rypien strapped a brace to his sore right knee and played as well as could be expected. He completed 21 of 35 passes for 220 yards.
Offensive coordinator Rod Dowhower said: "He did fine considering the situation. You don't expect to have to come out and drop back and throw every time. I thought he did pretty good."
Once the Redskins fell behind 27-0, they had to abandon the running game.
Coach Richie Petitbon said: "I thought Ryp did all right. He obviously had a little rust, but I think he did OK."
Rypien said: "Health-wise, I felt fine. I made it through. Physically, you feel good, but mentally you're a little down."
Now, he has to try to bring them back from a 1-4 start as the team heads to Phoenix next week.
"We have to find a way to win a game," he said.
He refused to make any critical comments.
"Don't get me second-guessing anything we did. I'm not going to say anything like that. We didn't play well. I'm not second-guessing anything," he said.
When he was asked if the problem was the system or the players, he said, "Next question."
Bailey makes mark
Halfback David Meggett, who caught Washington by surprise with his second-quarter touchdown pass, was not the only Giant with Baltimore roots to torment the Redskins.
Linebacker Carlton Bailey, who starred for Woodlawn High, was credited with three tackles. He also forced a fumble and recovered another fumble by teammate Corey Miller after an interception.
Bailey, acquired as a free agent after five seasons in Buffalo, PTC said he made a tough adjustment in joining the Giants and having to replace the popular Pepper Johnson.
"You're dealing with different people and attitudes, and I know Pepper had a special place in this dressing room," Bailey said. "But it's getting better here all the time."
Defensive lineman wanted
The Redskins are likely to be looking for a defensive lineman after suffering another loss at that position.
Jason Buck suffered a separated shoulder and might be lost for the season.
The Redskins have two other linemen (Charles Mann and Eric Williams) on the shelf, and Shane Collins didn't play much because of a foot injury.
"We're going to see who's out there. We do need some healthy bodies," Petitbon said.
The other injured players were Tim Johnson (thigh), Darrell Green (neck) and Joe Jacoby (elbow), but the Redskins hope they injuries are not serious. Art Monk aggravated an ankle injury, but didn't make the injury report.
That trapped feeling
Petitbon said that he thought Tom Carter intercepted a Phil Simms pass in the third quarter, but the officials ruled he trapped it. The Redskins trailed 27-7 at the time.
"We still had a lot of time left. Who knows if they give us that? It doesn't work that way," he said.
Byner plays little
Veteran Earnest Byner saw limited action and didn't run the ball or catch a pass.
Dowhower said that Reggie Brooks, Brian Mitchell and Ricky Ervins, who carried for the first time this season, are ahead of him on the depth chart.
"They're good pass receivers, and they run fast," he said.
LT: Where's the noise?
Lawrence Taylor said the Redskins didn't get much support from their fans. "The fans are not the same fans we're used to seeing around here. Those guys were so loud, it would be hard to even have a running play. They just didn't support the Redskins the way they usually do, and it showed on the field," he said.
Tillman struts stuff
Lewis Tillman has been waiting in the wings four years to take center stage, and the Giants halfback took full opportunity of his chance, running for a career-high 104 yards on 29 carries.
Tillman, whose previous claim to fame was breaking Walter Payton's rushing mark at Jackson State, became an emergency starter after knee and ankle injuries sidelined Rodney Hampton, the NFL's second-leading rusher.
"Nothing Lewis did today should surprise anyone," said Simms. "Everyone on our team knew how he could run. You just hand him the ball and it's 'There he goes!' "
Said Tillman: "I don't think I was ever a forgotten man. Heck, I've played for three head coaches, and I'm still here, so I must have been doing something right on the special teams."
Showdown for top spot
By winning, the Giants (4-1) tied the Philadelphia Eagles, who lost to the Chicago Bears yesterday, for first place in the NFC East. The two leaders meet at Giants Stadium next week.
"I don't think too many people figured we'd be 4-1 at this point," said Simms. "But the difference between this year and last [6-10] that we're more physical on both sides of the line."