SI Vault
 
They Lowered The Boom On Hogeboom
Paul Zimmerman
September 17, 1984
Led by Lawrence Taylor, the Giants made life miserable for Dallas and new quarterback Gary Hogeboom
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
September 17, 1984

They Lowered The Boom On Hogeboom

Led by Lawrence Taylor, the Giants made life miserable for Dallas and new quarterback Gary Hogeboom

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4 5

The Cowboys tried it a different way. They assigned Taylor responsibility to tight end Cosbie, a formidable chap at 6'6", 236 pounds. But they neglected one aspect of Taylor's growing reputation as the greatest outside linebacker ever to play the game. In this, his fourth year in the league, he's picked up some smarts. This is the way he described it:

"Normally, when I'm playing off the line I'm going to drop back into zone coverage. When I'm up tight I'm going to blitz or clamp on a receiver, man-to-man. They were reading that, and I didn't do much in the first quarter. So in the second quarter I played seven to eight yards off the line and came on the blitz at the last minute. I think I caught them by surprise. I just walked through the gaps."

Question: What gaps? How come there were gaps? Another question: Do you have leeway to pick the area you want to attack?

"Today I did, yes," Taylor said. "And the gaps were created by our defensive end forcing the tackle blocking him outside, and our defensive tackle next to him pinching inside. That made a gap, and that's the spot I chose."

"It's my fault," Cosbie said. "We'd never seen Taylor blitz from that alignment. It isn't our linemen's fault; they have to block the people over them. I was lined up outside our tackle, and a safety-man was lined up over me, and Taylor was inside, on a line with our guard. I was thinking safety blitz, but I still had to pick up Taylor. The first time, he came so fast I never saw him. On his second one, I lined up in the same spot. I knew he was going to blitz, but I'm four yards outside him. I said to myself, 'O.K., I'm going to try to block him, but there's no way, because he's so quick.' I try to do the best I can, but when you're four yards away, what can you do?"

Taylor got his third sack in the fourth quarter, a three-yarder, when Hogeboom was scrambling away from a rush and Taylor ambushed him from the outside, but by then the game was out of hand. It was decided in the opening sequence of the second half. The Cowboys' Ron Fellows fumbled the kickoff, the Giants took over on Dallas's 18, and with a 21-0 lead you'd figure the Giants would try to grind away, run time off the clock and try to punch something across. But this is a different Giant team. Adversity has made them hungry—and hostile.

They're coming off a 3-12-1 season. Parcells is hanging on to his job by a thread. Their quarterback, Phil Simms, lost his starting spot to Scott Brunner last year and he had to win it in a shootout with Jeff Rutledge this summer. Two All-Pros walked out in camp, inside linebacker Harry Carson and cornerback Mark Haynes, both of whom returned in a few days. With Haynes it was a money thing. Carson's hike was deeper, and more meaningful. "I just had to get off by myself," he said. Parcells called his conduct "despicable," and Taylor, in turn, ripped Parcells for lack of leadership.

A desperate group, right? So, with a chance to go 2-0 on the season and put the Cowboys away early in the second half, they went for the kill.

"In the old days a typical Giant series was run, run, pass, punt," Carson said, smiling. "It's different now, as you could well see."

The Giants scored on an 18-yard Simms end-zone shot to tight end Zeke Mowatt, who outjumped Dextor Clink-scale, the strong safety. It was Simms's third TD pass, his seventh in two weeks. His first two on Sunday were against the strength of the Dallas secondary, left cornerback Everson Walls.

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5