Game review, by the position

QUARTERBACKS Eli Manning severely underthrew Amani Toomer, who would've easily caught a 41-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter after badly beating two New Orleans defensive backs. Manning displayed a soft touch in lofting a pass to wide-open TE Jeremy Shockey for a 20-yard gain down the center of the field just before the two-minute warning in the second quarter. Bottom Line: Manning was inconsistent, often throwing off his back foot.

RUNNING BACKS

Tailback Tiki Barber showed fearlessness in leaving his feet to hurdle an oncoming Saints defender near the goal line in the first quarter. An airborne Barber also absorbed the brunt of a peculiar collision with one of his own offensive lineman, RG David Diehl, which nearly prevented him from crossing the goal line. Had WR Willie Ponder stayed in an inside lane, rather than turning outside, his end around would've amounted to much more than the four-yard gain WLB Colby Bockwoldt limited him to in the first quarter. Bottom Line: Barber was effective in crucial situations.

WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

Flanker Plaxico Burress was whistled for an illegal block to the back that cost Barber a 28-yard gain in the first quarter. But Burress beat RCB Jason Craft for three receptions that covered 48 yards (all for first downs) on the same drive, which resulted in a Barber 6-yard touchdown reception. Split end Amani Toomer masterfully dragged his right foot in bounds while making a 25-yard reception near the Saints' sideline early in the fourth quarter. But by lining up off the line of scrimmage, Toomer's illegal formation infraction cost the Giants a 22-yard touchdown throw from Manning to Burress with 9:55 left. Bottom Line: Burress and TE Jeremy Shockey were very productive.

OFFENSIVE LINE

RT Kareem McKenzie was whistled for holding, which moved the Giants back to their own 36 nearly midway through the third quarter. They settled for a 39-yard Jay Feely FG two plays later. RG Chris Snee sealed off DT Willie Whitehead to help create the huge hole that sprung Barber for his 12-yard touchdown run just before halftime. Bottom Line: Manning wasn't sacked and Barber was afforded holes in the red zone.

DEFENSIVE LINE

LDT Kendrick Clancy showed strength by backing up C LeCharles Bentley enough to record a six-yard sack when QB Aaron Brooks couldn't find a receiver midway through the second quarter. LDE Michael Strahan made a rare mental error in shoving Brooks to the ground, which resulted in a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty late in the first quarter. The penalty pushed New Orleans to the Giants' 21 and the Saints scored their first touchdown three plays later. Strahan shed RG Jermane Mayberry for a nine-yard sack that drove the Saints back to the Giants' 46 after recovering a fumble just before halftime. RDT William Joseph scooped up Brooks' fumbled snap early in the third quarter and returned it five yards to the Saints' 41, a turnover that resulted in a Jay Feely FG. Bottom Line: Strahan and Osi Umenyiora (two sacks) bothered Brooks frequently.

LINEBACKERS

With the Giants ahead 24-10 early in the fourth quarter, MLB Antonio Pierce dove across the middle to break up a Brooks pass attempt to WR Joe Horn in the end zone on a third-and-11 play. WLB Carlos Emmons displayed athleticism in leaping to intercept a Brooks pass intended for WR Donte' Stallworth late in the second quarter. The turnover gave the Giants the ball at New Orleans' 26 and set up their third touchdown of the first half, despite Emmons' 15-yard penalty for taunting thereafter. Bottom Line: Pierce and Emmons were tremendous.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

RCB Curtis Deloatch and FS Brent Alexander allowed Horn to split them for a 21-yard TD catch at the beginning of the second quarter, one that brought the Saints within seven (14-7). Alexander showed great concentration, though, in intercepting a twice-tipped Brooks pass intended for Stallworth with about five minutes left in the third quarter. Gambling LCB Will Allen used both arms to go for the interception, but somehow missed the ball entirely and allowed Horn a 22-yard catch early in the first quarter. Allen also missed a leg tackle on RB Deuce McAllister that permitted McAllister to record a 22-yard catch-and-run four plays before a 21-yard FG by John Carney. Bottom Line: The pass defense has been atrocious.

SPECIAL TEAMS

WR David Tyree perfectly timed his tackle of PR Michael Lewis, who didn't gain a yard on an attempted return late in the second quarter. P Jeff Feagles dropped a well-placed 39-yard punt out of bounds in the second quarter, which forced the Saints to start a drive at their own 5. Reserve FS James Butler sniffed out the reverse and wrapped up KR Fred McAfee on the opening kickoff, which allowed backup SLB Nick Greisen to blast McAfee and cause a fumble. Backup MLB Chase Blackburn was in perfect position to recover the fumble at the Saints' 10-yard line. The turnover led to a 1-yard TD run by Brandon Jacobs. Butler was not aware, however, of a Mitch Berger punt that hit him in the back of his leg and forced a turnover late in the second quarter that eventually cost the Giants three points. Bottom Line: Not as spectacular as Week 1, but not bad.

COACHING

Tom Coughlin again had his team properly prepared for an unusually emotional game. He also looked good by simply standing still as Jim Haslett burned two timeouts trying to challenge an Amani Toomer reception with 11:12 left in the game. Bottom Line: They're 2-0.


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