The running back cut outside, and the quarterback should have recognized that Taylor had him.
In the fourth quarter, the Lions finally got a drive going and moved to the New York 4. At this critical moment in a tie game, Lawrence Taylor made the biggest play of the day. On third down, running back Horace King and tight end David Hill ran crisscrossing routes to confuse Taylor and fellow linebacker Brian Kelley. Kelley followed Taylor’s original man, Hill, as he was supposed to do. To bait Danielson, Taylor faked that he was staying with Hill, but he then closed on his new man, King, with the pass in the air. L.T. caught the ball at the 3 and went into a sprint down the sideline, sore knee notwithstanding. At the 50, Taylor noticed defensive coordinator Bill Parcells on the sideline motioning to keep running, and he did, with Danielson and Dexter Bussey in distant pursuit. Although there was a penalty on the play, it was against King for offensive pass interference, so the touchdown stood.
The 97-yard interception return was the third longest in team history. It proved to be the winning score and only touchdown in the Giants’ 13-6 defensive victory. New York would end the season 4-5 and out of the playoffs, but 1982 remains memorable for the Thanksgiving game that Lawrence Taylor won all by himself.
Laweence Tayloe injury. Lawrence Taylor terrorized quarterbacks primarily as a pass rusher. This interception against the Lions was one of only nine he would record in his 13 years in the NFL. He was the definition of an impact player, and he forced opponents to gameplan against him. Coach Joe Gibbs of the division-rival Redskins devised the H-back a combination tight end and offensive lineman as a direct counter to the havoc Taylor wrought.
Washington’s formations were always crafted to try to get two blockers on Taylor, and other teams followed suit.
Taylor was the second player taken in the 1981 draft; he proved his value by recording 133 tackles and 9.5 sacks in that first season. For that, he was named both Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. Taylor would go on to be named Defensive Player of the Year three more times; he also won the NFL MVP Award in 1986. For seven consecutive seasons, he recorded double-digit sack totals, leading the league with 20.5 sacks in 1986.
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During his career, Taylor was named to 10 Pro Bowls, recorded 142 sacks, forced 33 fumbles,
The ball in my hand took care of all the pain from the and recovered 11 more. He was a ferocious tackler and unrelenting in pursuit of the play. L.T. combined the speed of a back and the strength of a lineman, along with quickness, agility, and intensity.
Off the field, Taylor had outsized appetites that put him in and out of rehab several times, both during and after his playing career. This sordid side caused some controversy when he became eligible for the Hall of Fame, but no one could deny his greatness on the football field. He was enshrined in Canton in 1999.
Some consider him the greatest defensive player in NFL history; most would concede he was the finest linebacker. Without question, he is the greatest player the Giants have ever had, and his No. 56 jersey has been retired.
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