Inside Slant, Notes, Quotes, Report Cards

The emotional aspect of the game aside, the Giants clearly made a statement that they are in the race for the NFC East and don't plan to make an early exit, the way they did last season.

In 2004, which was head coach Tom Coughlin's first year, the Giants were 5-2 and then proceeded to embark on an eight-game losing streak, one that stretched until the final game of the seaso,n when they managed to salvage the encounter with Dallas to arrive at their 6-10 record.

But that was a season in which veteran Kurt Warner, signed for the express purpose of buying some time for rookie Eli Manning, was taken out as starting quarterback after the ninth game so that Manning might begin the second phase of his education.

This year is different because Eli has far exceeded anyone's predictions. He is a poised, veteran-like quarterback with that rare poise and composure that has been the trademark of the NFL's memorable superstars.

Sunday he demonstrated yet another aspect of the overall ability resume -- he directed a one-sided, completely dominant game and victory while not achieving outrageously brilliant statistics for himself.

The Giants disposed of the Washington Redskins, 36-0, in a tribute game for the late owner, Wellington Mara, who died last week at the age of 89. The game ball was presented to his son, Executive Vice President-COO John K. Mara, who will certainly be elevated to fill his father's position.

The defense was brilliant, limiting the high-scoring, yardage-producing Redskins' offense to just 125 total net yards -- and 38 on the ground.

"I think everyone understood that Mr. Mara would have wanted us to stay focused on the game and he would have wanted us to go out and practice hard every day and compete, have a good game plan and play hard.," said Manning.

More to the point, Manning suggested that this was a game other teams should consider when planning for the Giants. "It was a division game against a good team," he said. "Washington had been playing well and they have a great defense. It was a big game for us and we came and played well. We ran the ball well and the line did a great job."

And the Giants, who travel to San Francisco next Sunday, are legitimate contenders.


--RB Tiki Barber set a career single-game high with 206 yards (in 24 carries) and came within 12 yards of equaling the all-time team record of 218, set by Gene "Choo Choo" Roberts in 1950. Did he think head coach Tom Coughlin was gong to let him in to get the record? "I don't think about such things," he said. "We win and everything is fine. We lose and it really doesn't matter what I did individually."

--The Giants' 19-0 lead at halftime represented the first time all season they had been unscored upon in the first two quarters. The shutout was their first in a regular season game since 1998 (Philadelphia) and their last whitewash was the 2001 NFC Championship game, a 41-0 destruction of the Minnesota Vikings.

--K Jay Feely added five FGs to his record and ran his streak to 13 in a row before missing a 51-yarder that hit the left upright. He is the sixth player in team history to attempt six FGs, and the fifth to get five in a single game.


--Rookie DE Justin Tuck injured his ankle Sunday and was being re-evaluated Monday. "Tuck had the ankle and we're going to go through all the tests (Monday) and try to discover if there's any issue there," coach Tom Coughlin said.

--S Shaun Williams suffered a hamstring injury Sunday, but the team is hopeful he won't miss any game time. "Shaun has a hamstring that hopefully is going to be manageable," coach Tom Coughlin said.

--LB Carlos Emmons is day-to-day after he did not play against Washington. He missed the entire week of practice leading up to the Redskins game with a slightly torn pectoral muscle. "It's a continuation of treatment for Carlos and it ends up being a day-to-day decision about whether he's ready to practice or not," coach Tom Coughlin said. "At this point in time, he would not be ready to practice today if we had to go today."

--WR David Tyree missed the first game of his three-year career with an elbow injury Sunday. "It's a question of, to be honest with you, whether the elbow allows him to tackle and we hope by the end of this week that will have a better feeling for that," said coach Tom Coughlin, who added that Tyree was much improved Monday.



PASSING OFFENSE: B -- The word that best describes the Giants' passing game vs. Washington is efficient. QB Eli Manning completed 12 of 31 passes for 146 yards, one TD and one pick. The TD (10 yards to TE Jeremy Shockey) was his 13th of the season; the interception was his fifth. His leading receiver, as usual, was WR Plaxico Burress. But he caught only four passes for 42 yards. Shockey added three for 29 and the TD while WR Amani Toomer caught two for 43 yards. Manning was sacked twice, but one was a coverage sack; he had no uncovered receivers and didn't get the chance to throw the ball away. Generally, however, the O-line blocked efficiently.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- Thanks to RB Tiki Barber, the Giants have seldom enjoyed a better rushing game. They gained 262 yards in total, with 206 coming from Barber. It was his career single-game best and put him at 689 for the season with nine games still to play. He scored one TD and immediately ran to the sidelines and handed the ball to one of Wellington Mara's grandsons, Tim McDonnell, with whom he has enjoyed a special friendship. Barber's career single-season best was set last year with 1,518. He is now averaging 98-plus yards a game and can break his record by maintaining that number. LG Chris Snee and RG David Diehl played particularly well, although C Shaun O'Hara was struggling for a good portion of the game.

PASS DEFENSE: B-plus -- The defense held Mark Brunell to just 65 yards gained by completing 11 of 28 attempts. The Redskins had only one first down by passing in the game, a 15-yard completion to WR Santana Moss in the second quarter. The defense restricted Moss, who had been one of the NFL's top receivers with 38 catches and 743 yards, to four for 34. Moss was the Redskins' leading receiver. The Giants sacked two Redskin QBs five times for 40 yards in losses.

RUSH DEFENSE: A-minus -- Clinton Portis entered the game with 544 yards in 123 carries and left it with four more carries and nine more yards. He was totally throttled as the Redskins carried the ball a collective 13 times for 38 yards, and six times ran three plays and punted. Former Redskins' MLB Antonio Pierce had 11 tackles, an interception and two passes defended. DE Osi Umenyiora had two sacks and four tackles, while the other DE, All-Pro Michael Strahan, had four tackles and one sack. Strahan has 6.5 for the season, Umenyiora five.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B-plus -- The Redskins had six kickoffs to return and just two punts, and they gained a total of 118 yards in returns. The longest gain was 27 yards by Ladell Betts. Giants' P Jeff Feagles punted four times for a 43.0 average (and 39.8 net). K Jay Feely saw his streak of consecutive FGs end at 13, but he did put five through the uprights and now has made 16 of 17 along with all 23 PAT attempts. The Giants recorded eight special teams tackles, with FA rookie LB Chase Blackburn getting three. LB Reggie Torbor and FA rookie SS James Butler had two each.

COACHING: A -- It's hard to find fault with the defense, offense and special teams after this near-flawless performance. Head coach Tom Coughlin said the team's goal was two-fold, and each revolved around the running game(s). "We wanted to stop their ground game, which means holding Portis to something safe, and we thought we could run on them." He never figured Portis would be held so completely in check, nor did he think Barber would explode with a career-best single-game 206 yards.

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