After a cold start, Lang heats up and burns Jets; Defensive end makes key play by forcing fumble; Redskins notebook


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Washington Redskins defensive end Kenard Lang channeled his anger at the right time yesterday.

The Redskins' first-round 1997 pick out of the University of Miami (Fla.) was pulled from the game in the first half because of lackluster play and took exception. When Lang returned, he created havoc, recording five tackles, three sacks and a pass deflection.

Still, the 6-foot-4, 277-pound lineman saved the best for last, forcing a game-turning fumble with 3: 19 left and the Redskins leading, 20-17. Bullying past Jets right tackle Jason Fabini, Lang lunged at quarterback Rick Mirer's cocked arm while still being blocked.

"I knew I had to do something," Lang said. "If I wouldn't, I knew Mirer would duck up underneath and try to run."

After Lang caused the fumble, the Redskins' Dan Wilkinson recovered at the New York 21-yard line to set up the team's second fourth-quarter TD. That allowed the defense to save face after watching the Jets score two TDs behind Mirer, who hadn't engineered a scoring drive in 66 straight series before yesterday.

"It was a play they had run three times earlier in the game," Lang said. "I just jetted upfield, and I thought I was going to get a sack. But I only saw his hand and knocked the ball out. I just made the play."

Mistakes, mistakes

Jets cornerback Ray Mickens won't be counting the days to another Texas A&M; reunion with Redskins receiver Albert Connell.

Knowing Mickens' tendency to gamble for interceptions, Connell caught five passes for 75 yards yesterday against his Aggies teammate from 1993 to 1995. When not chasing Connell down after his receptions, Mickens also helped the Redskins' fourth-quarter comeback by getting flagged twice for pass interference on the game-winning drive.

"I talked a little noise to him," said Connell, who made four catches in the final quarter. "I told him: 'You just signed that big contract, Mick, and you know you're not going to be able to hold me.' It was all in good fun."

Another record

Redskins cornerback Darrell Green picked off a Mirer pass with nine seconds left before halftime, pocketing an interception for an NFL-record 17th straight season to surpass Willie Brown. Green, who was making his 104th consecutive start, has 48 interceptions, second on the active list behind Eugene Robinson's 54.

End zone

The Redskins have scored 112 points after three games, tying the 1991 Super Bowl champion Redskins for the highest total at this point in the season in the club's 68-year history. . . . Redskins cornerback Champ Bailey, who was covering receiver Keyshawn Johnson on the overruled touchdown, hit into the goal post on the play and needed to be helped off the field. Bailey, who returned the next play, said: "When they were reviewing the play, I didn't know what was going on." . . . The Redskins reported only minor injuries: Wilkinson (bruised shoulder), backup defensive back Darryl Pounds (bruised knee) and reserve linebacker Twan Russell (mild sprained ankle).

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