Defense responds to Lewis' message

Normally during Saturday evening meetings, Giants defensive coordinator Tim Lewis will discuss the opponents' tendencies and ways for New York to stop its foe. However, the Saturday evening before New York matched up with the Redskins, Lewis discarded the paper on which he had written what New York needed to do and told his troops that it came down to them. <BR><BR>

Lewis wasn't worried about what the Skins were going to do and how his troops would react to it. He impressed to them the importance of their performance and stressed that the Redskins should have to react to New York's defense.

Whatever Lewis did clearly worked. The Giants have struggled with forcing turnovers for years. They stole seven from Washington in the home opener. Interceptions? New York had a franchise record low 10 last year. They swiped four passes against the Skins.

And what made matters even better was that it was the newcomers who were responsible for New York's big defensive day. Brent Alexander picked off two passes, rookie Gibril Wilson added one and the most unlikely member of the INT stat sheet – DT Fred Robbins – posted the fourth.

"Fred Robbins had an excellent week of practice and he capitalized on that today," Tom Coughlin said. "I was really pleased with that."

"It was my first interception," Robbins said. "That was a long time coming. It was an exciting play and I just read the screen perfectly. I came off the block and they made a good call on it."

Robbins was pleased with the pick, which gave New York the ball at the Redskins 26-yard line after his 13-yard return, but he wanted more.

"I only wish I could have made it to the end zone," he smiled.

His teammate, LB Barrett Green, had no such concerns.

Just before Robbins' athletic heroics, Green was the beneficiary of a big hit on Redskins RB Clinton Portis from Shaun Williams, who jarred the ball loose at the Redskins 16. Green scooped up the ball and took it to the house for his first ever TD.

"I just saw the ball and saw the opportunity to get into the end zone," he said. "I probably should have gotten there a little bit quicker, but I got there and scored and it was a pretty good feeling."

Except in his ankle. Green aggravated a previous ankle injury and sat out the rest of the game.

"He was having a real good day and then he injured his ankle," Coughlin said. "He tried to go but he couldn't. Hopefully it's not going to be something that's going to last."

The Giants, however, wouldn't mind if the windfall of turnovers continued. Of New York's 20 points, 17 of them came off turnovers.

"Thank God for our defense and the way they played and way they came up with big play after big play after big play," Kurt Warner said of his defensive mates.

"They played hard, they came up big when we needed them," Jeremy Shockey added. "I am very proud of them."


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