Manning the Controls

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – A week after his breakthrough game in San Diego, Eli Manning played even better in leading the Giants past the Rams, 44-24. "He's doing things as a quarterback better than people who have played in the league 10 years," Jeremy Shockey said. "He looks off safeties and goes another way. His tools and his talent are unparalleled to what I've played with in my career."

Manning completed 19-of-35 passes for 296 yards and a career high four touchdowns (two to Plaxico Burress and one each to Amani Toomer and Jeremy Shockey).

"You could compare him to Peyton the way he's playing right now," Antonio Pierce said.

Manning, who has thrown 135 consecutive passes without an interception, became the first Giants quarterback to throw four touchdown passes in a regular-season game since Kerry Collins did it at Indianapolis on Dec. 22, 2002. Collins matched the feat in an NFC Wild Card playoff game at San Francisco on Jan. 5, 2003.

Manning is mostly pleased that the club still has room to improve.

"The good thing is that there are still plays out there that we are missing that we have to continue to improve on just to get better as an offense," he said.

"He is getting better and better," Rams QB Marc Bulger said. "It takes time to get better in this league and finally he has some good targets and he is making the right reads."

Manning has impressed his mates as much with his mental makeup as with his physical prowess.

"He's unflappable," Tiki Barber said. "His learning curve was steep. He got pretty intelligent pretty quickly."

As Manning continues to improve quicker than expected, it's obvious that the Giants might have something special brewing under center.

"He has the talent to be a very special player if we get him out there and put him in situations to throw the football and we can go out there and make plays for him," Plaxico Burress said.

Shock therapy: With his four catches against St. Louis, tight end Jeremy Shockey became the second-fastest tight end to reach 200 receptions. After reaching the milestone in 43 career games, Shockey trails only San Diego great Kellen Winslow, who turned the trick in 39 games. Shockey reached 200 in style – a 31-yard TD in the third period.

Fillin' in nicely: Nick Greisen played very well in place of the injured Carlos Emmons, posting nine tackles and recovering a fumble. At left cornerback, Curtis Deloatch did decently subbing for Will Peterson. Deloatch was beaten on multiple occasions, but finished with seven tackles and had one beauty of a pass break-up in the end zone.

Bye bye baby: The Giants are an NFL-best 14-3 in games prior to a regular-season bye. Tom Coughlin is 7-3 prior to a bye, 2-0 with the Giants.

Scoring machine: The Giants' 44 points is their highest total since a 44-17 victory at Indianapolis on Dec. 22, 2002. The Giants beat Arizona in their season opener, 42-19. This is the first time the Giants had scored at least 40 points twice in the same season since 1972, when they defeated New Orleans on Oct. 8, 45-21, and Philadelphia on Nov. 26, 62-10.

This is the first time the Giants have scored at least 40 points in back-to-back home games since 1963, when they defeated Philadelphia on Nov. 10, 42-14, and San Francisco on Nov. 17, 48-14. They did exceed 40 points in consecutive home games in 1986, but the second time was in a postseason game (55 to end the regular season against Green Bay on Dec. 20, and 49 in a Divisional Playoff Game vs. San Francisco on Jan. 4, 1987).

Quick start: For the fourth time in as many games, the Giants scored points on their opening possession when Manning threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress just 2:09 into the game. It was the third time this season they scored a touchdown on their first drive. Last week in San Diego, they kicked a field goal the first time they owned the ball. Tom Coughlin is 23-5 when his teams score a first-possession touchdown, including 3-1 with the Giants (3-0 this season).

Hold that ball: The Giants had five takeaways and no turnovers, a plus-five differential that was their best since they were plus-six in a victory over Washington on Sept. 19, 2004. The Giants' differential this season is plus-10.

Empty seats: The game took 3:35 to play, the Giants' longest game since an overtime victory over the Jets on Nov. 2, 2003 was completed in 3:42.

SuperPlax: Plaxico Burress' 204 yards tied for the third-highest total in Giants history. Del Shofner had 269 yards at Washington on Oct. 28, 1962, Gene "Choo Choo" Roberts had 212 at Green Bay on Nov. 13, 1949, and Toomer had 204 at Indianapolis on Dec. 22, 2002. It was the 19th time in Giants history a receiver caught at least 10 passes in a game. Burress is the 14th different player to accomplish the feat, and just the third wide receiver, joining Shofner and Toomer.

The 204-yard total was the second-highest of Burress' career. He had 253 yards on nine receptions playing for Pittsburgh against Atlanta on Nov. 10, 2002. It was his first 100-yard game as a Giant and the 13th of his career (plus one in the playoffs).

Ending the drought: Amani Toomer scored his first touchdown since Dec. 28, 2003, when he caught a seven-yarder from Jesse Palmer in a season-ending loss to Carolina. Giants wide receivers have six touchdown catches in four games – they had two all of last season.

Tiki's tops: Tiki Barber rushed for a season-high 128 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. It was Barber's 23rd 100-yard game, extending his own team record. The Giants are 13-10 in games in which Barber rushed for at least 100 yards. The rushing touchdown was the 44th of his career. That's third on the team's career list, four behind No. 2 Joe Morris.

Game quote: "I like our determination. We fight for 60 minutes. We don't stop. The guys played with a chip on their shoulder today." – CB Will Allen

Inactive: Both LB Carlos Emmons (knee) and CB Will Peterson (back, likely out for the season) were unable to suit up against St. Louis. Running back Derrick Ward also missed the contest with a hamstring injury. The other inactives were G Rich Seubert, WR Jamaar Taylor, DE Eric Moore and DT Damane Duckett. Jared Lorenzen was the third quarterback. Fortunately for the Giants, Rams receiver Isaac Bruce was inactive with a toe injury.

NFC East: The surprising Redskins remained unbeaten and improved to 3-0 by knocking off the Seahawks. The 3-1 Giants are tied with the Eagles, who pulled off an impressive comeback win in Kansas City. The 2-2 Cowboys, who lost in Oakland, bring up the NFC East rear.

Next up: After their week off, Big Blue heads down to Big D for a match-up with the rival Cowboys. Kickoff for the Oct. 16 tilt is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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