Score one for the defense

Last season, Holmes was tied for the team lead with two fumble recoveries, including one that he returned 50 yards for the first touchdown of his career. Now he has another TD ball to add to his collection.<

That the Giants' first touchdown of the 2003 season came with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter was not surprising. The fact that it was scored by their defense certainly was. After a Jeff Feagles 53-yard punt pinned the Rams inside their 10-yard line, Giants rookie William Joseph on third down penetrated the Rams' offensive line. He sacked Rams QB Kurt Warner in the end zone, forcing him into his second fumble of the game. The free ball was recovered by Kenny Holmes for the Giants' first touchdown. The 2003 season was underway with a defensive bang before a sellout crowd.

"To score the first touchdown of the year is big, but to do it the way we did today was great," said Holmes, who decided to keep the touchdown ball. "William (Joseph) had the guy wrapped up and I came around and the ball was there and it's in the ink now. It's big to help your team win with a touchdown. I was just in the right place at the right time."

Holmes' presence around the football is nothing new to middle linebacker Mike Barrow. "If that ball's on the ground, he's going to get it," said Barrow who relates Holmes' playing style to that of NBA superstar Karl Malone. "He will box me out to get to that football."

Last season, Holmes was tied for the team lead with two fumble recoveries, including one that he returned 50 yards for the first touchdown of his career. Now he has another TD ball to add to his collection.

Barrow knew it was just a matter of time before the Giants posted another defensive touchdown. "Just to score defensively, we've been talking about this for a long time," he said. Fassel was extremely pleased with the play of his aggressive defensive line, including the rookie Joseph.

"Obviously getting the fumble in the end zone, hitting him (Warner), and bouncing him around got him out of sync a little bit," Fassel said. "I wanted him (Joseph) playing so we could rotate and put pressure on the quarterback. It's awesome; it's how you win games."

Holmes and Barrow also had high praise for Joseph, who had the longest holdout in Giants' history after missing nearly two weeks of training camp.

"It's always good to have a young guy get confidence," Holmes said. "He will be a great player."

Barrow gave his fellow Miami alum a few words of advice before the game…"And the next thing you know, he's making things happen." Someone who's used to making things happen is QB Kerry Collins, who certainly appreciated the added scoring punch.

"We'll take them any way we can get them, offensively, defensively, doesn't matter," Collins said. "They just played great today against a really good offense. They really made some tremendous plays."


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