First Down

Amani Toomer and Jeremy Shockey certainly walked the walk. During the week following New York's home-opening win over Washington, Shockey and Toomer, to a lesser degree, stated that they weren't yet comfortable in the Giants offense and wanted to be utilized more as receivers. <BR><BR>

Against a depleted Browns squad, the talented duo not only got their big chance – but they delivered in a big way.

Each caught five passes to lead the Giants to victory, several of them clutch grabs. Toomer continually came up with the big play, gaining first downs on all of his catches, and adding a highlight film diving grab late in the third quarter.

"That was an outstanding performance by Amani Toomer today, "Tom Coughlin said.

Toomer finished the contest with 126 yards and averaged a gaudy 25.2 yards per catch.

Shockey looked like the Shockey of old, getting open consistently and catching every catchable pass thrown his way. If he keeps this up, Tom Coughlin might never ask him to block again.

After the game, Shockey joked that he took certain pride in Tiki Barber's 106-yard rushing game since he lined up at fullback on occasion.

Three of Shockey's five receptions gave the Giants first downs, with two moving the chains on third downs.

Shockey said he felt better and more comfortable in New York's offense, which appeared to click for the first time this season.

"I'm excited about the back-to-back wins, but you can't get too excited because we have a game next week," he said.

Through TGI's eyes

Granted it was against an undermanned Browns club, but it sure looks like Kurt Warner has plenty left in that right arm of his. He made several beautiful throws and did a good job staying poised and holding onto the ball under the occasional pressure. Have to admit he's playing much better than we thought he would… Sure is good that New York held onto Tim Carter, huh? After all the cries for his release when he was injured midway through camp, the new father certainly has stepped up and made a name for himself and given Warner another target to throw to. At this rate, Carter might find himself in the starting lineup before too long.

"I definitely feel comfortable," Carter said. "Being healthy – that's huge."…

Michael Strahan was not going to allow Jeff Garcia to get him again. Strahan took a loot of heat for coming up small down the stretch when Garcia led the 49ers to the monumental playoff comeback two seasons back. In his first matchup with the elusive QB since, Strahan was in the backfield all game long, posting two sacks, recovering two fumbles deep in Giants territory and hitting Garcia early and often…

Tiki Barber is so much fun to watch. No matter what, he's a threat to break one every time he touches the ball. And he rarely – if ever – is stopped by the first defender. How many times does it seem as if he's going to be stopped short of the marker and he somehow manages to cross the line? Take his 8-yard TD run in the first quarter for example; he dove and just barely was able to reach the ball out and touch the pylon for the points.

With Ron Dayne out, Barber got the ball a little more than expected, gaining 106 yards on 23 carries and another 48 via three receptions.

"He is obviously very capable of (handling a larger role)," Coughlin said. "We want to have the best firepower we have."

Then keep giving Barber the ball…

Gibril Wilson appears ready to play. The knock on Wilson in college was that he had questionable hands. Through three games, he's already posted two INTs, which would have tied him for the Giants team lead for all of last season. He also delivered the hit of them game – on Quincy Morgan – on which he was erroneously penalized. Of course Wilson disagreed with the penalty on him. "Safeties are supposed to make hits like that," he said.

"He had a full role today and it seemed to me that he played OK," Coughlin said. "He certainly made his presence felt."…

It's also very refreshing to watch Willie Ponder return kickoffs. He might not be Dante Hall just yet, but he consistently runs north and south and always hits the hole at a high speed. While ball security became a question after a fumble against the Redskins, Ponder at least runs in the right direction as fast as he can at all times. His two returns vs. Cleveland went for 29 and 27 yards… The Giants might have even also found themselves a punt returner, as Mark Jones continues to make the first tackler miss. The rookie averaged more than nine yards a return and chipped in a 21-yarder against the Browns…

Jack Brewer, who must have been disappointed to be passed over by Gibril Wilson for the vacant starting safety spot, continues to excel on special teams. He had three stops against Cleveland and also salted the game away by recovering an onsides kick late in the contest… While it sure was nice to see the Giants win their second consecutive contest, the next two-game stretch – at Green Bay and Dallas – will tell if this team's going to be able to surprise some people this season. The Redskins handed New York its first win, and the beaten-up Browns were never a serious threat. It seems like the blowout loss in Philly was a very long time ago. Now let's see if we're still thinking that way after Sunday's match at Lambeau Field…

Question of the week: Injuries or not, how in the world did the Browns batter Baltimore during opening weekend???


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