Giants' top plays: LT's ugliest QB sack

July, 8, 2014
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Lawrence Taylor and Joe TheismannGeorge Gojkovich/Getty Images
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This is one of three nominations for the most memorable play in New York Giants history. On Monday we looked at David Tyree's "helmet catch" from the Super Bowl XLII victory over the New England Patriots. Wednesday, we will look at the Joe Pisarcik-Herman Edwards "Miracle at the Meadowlands" play from 1978. Please vote for your choice as the Giants' most memorable play.

Score: Redskins 23, Giants 21
Date: Nov. 18, 1985 Site: RFK Stadium

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Which is the most memorable play in Giants' history?

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    72%
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    20%
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    8%

Discuss (Total votes: 44,899)

Lawrence Taylor surely had sacks of which he was prouder -- sacks that helped win games, sacks that helped win playoff games, etc. But the one everyone remembers is the one that ended the career of Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann.

Everyone remembers this one because they remember what it sounded like and, unfortunately, what it looked like. This was a "Monday Night Football" game being watched all around the country, and the gruesome details of the play stick in the memory of anyone who happened to be watching.

It was early in the second quarter with the game tied, and the Redskins called a flea flicker. Theismann handed the ball to running back John Riggins, who ran up toward the line before turning and flipping the ball back to Theismann. The Giants were not fooled. Harry Carson got there first, but Theismann wriggled away from him only to find Taylor waiting. Taylor brought him down, Gary Reasons jumped on the pile, everyone nearby heard a loud "crack" and, suddenly, Taylor was up and waving to the Redskins sideline for someone to come in and help Theismann.

The TV replays were horrendous, clearly showing the bone protruding through the skin of Theismann's leg. Theismann left the field on a stretcher, giving way to Jay Schroeder, who would lead the Redskins to a fourth-quarter comeback victory later that night. But the play stands among the most memorable in the history of both franchises. From the Giants' end, it has come to symbolize Taylor's ferocity as the best defensive player in NFL history. But, while both he and Theismann, who never played again, obviously remember the play, each has said in the intervening years that he has never watched the replay.

Taylor had greater moments as a Giant. For example, fans undoubtedly remember him ripping the ball out of Roger Craig's hands in the 1990 NFC Championship Game. And he helped deliver two Super Bowl titles. But there's little doubt that, if you're making a "most memorable plays" list, the devastating 1985 sack that wrecked Theismann's career meets the criteria.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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