Big Blue (4-10) didn't even belong on the same field as the Saints (7-7), who kept their playoff hopes alive by drubbing the seemingly disinterested Giants.
"We can play a lot better than that," Jim Fassel said. "I've got to find a way to get them to play better. It's frustrating. Very frustrating."
For the Giants, it was their worst loss since they were smashed, 44-3, in a playoff game in San Francisco at the end of the 1993 campaign.
Saints Pro Bowl receiver Joe Horn had a field day against the undermanned New York secondary, catching four TD passes against the likes of Ike Charlton and Kato Serwanga. Horn even had time to dial up a cell phone after one of his touchdown catches. Perhaps he was phoning 911 on the Giants' behalf.
Jesse Palmer, making his first NFL start, fared no better than the injured Kerry Collins. Palmer was pressured and harassed all evening as New York' offensive line continued to have its difficulties. Palmer finished the game with 15 completions in 26 attempts for 140 yards.
"I felt great the whole game," Palmer said. "They both (Kerry Collins, Jason Garrett) told me they thought I played well."
"I think Jesse did all right, considering some things," Fassel said. "We had some routes that weren't where they were supposed to be."
The Giants had plenty of players that weren't where they were supposed to be.
New Orleans QB Aaron Brooks carved up New York's secondary, throwing for five TDs and 296 yards.
"He played well," Fassel said. "We didn't get a lot of pressure on him. He had guys open."
Big Blue's special teams, of course, contributed to the mess as well. Fred Thomas ran in Kenny Smith's blocked field goal 64 yards to end any hopes New York had of upsetting the Saints.
"They just crushed those guys up front," Fassel said. "They just came right over the top and crushed it."
"It was perfect execution on the whole play and Fred scooped it up and scored," Saints coach Jim Haslett said.
Embarrassment was the word of the day, as New York's nightmare season continued.
"Of course it's embarrassing," Michael Strahan said. "45-7? You've got to be kidding me."
"It's embarrassing," Omar Stoutmire said. "It was a combination of a lot of different things. Obviously it wasn't just one group that hurt us."
No, all three facets of New York's game were equally to blame. The offense couldn't get any rhythm going, gaining a meager total of only 241 yards. Defensively, the missed tackles and missed coverages were practically countless, as the Saints rolled up 440 total yards.
"We were in position to make plays and we just didn't get it done," Stoutmire said.
It didn't take the Saints long to get untracked. Less than two minutes into the game, Brooks connected with Horn, who out-jumped Ralph Brown for a 50-yard TD.
Brown left the game at that point with a re-aggravation of his right shoulder injury. Stoutmire said the youngsters in the secondary weren't to blame for the club's poor play.
"We still have enough talent to get the job done back there," he said.
The Giants got on the board when Palmer tossed his first ever TD pass to Visanthe Shiancoe – who caught his first career TD – for a 4-yard score. The Giants took over at the Saints 39-yard line after Dhani Jones recovered an Aaron Brooks fumble. Palmer scrambled for 12 yards to move New York into the red zone.
"It doesn't really matter," Shiancoe said of his score. "We lost as a team. I don't celebrate that."
New Orleans extended its lead when Brooks fired a laser to Horn for a 13-yard TD. Horn phoned home after beating Frank Walker on a slant pattern, grabbing a cell phone from under the goal post stanchion, dialing and making a phone call.
"It was for my mom and kids," Horn said. "I didn't have time for them to answer it and say hello."
Big Blue bounced right back, getting deep into New Orleans territory following a 39-yard catch by David Tyree on a trick play. But a foolish penalty on Shiancoe left the Giants in dire straits, facing a second-and-34 and a third-and-32.
"It was just BS," Shiancoe explained. "I gotta keep my discipline. He hit me after the play and I wasn't disciplined."
The worst was yet to come.
Matt Bryant's 43-yard field goal try was blocked by DL Kenny Smith and recovered by CB Fred Thomas, who ran it in for a 64-yard TD and a 24-7 Saints advantage.
The Saints continued to pile it on with two Horn scores (7, 18) sandwiching a 26-yard Jerome Pathon TD.
"We shouldn't lose to anybody like that," Palmer concluded.
Big Easy win
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