The Defense Rests

So the Giants defense gave up 329 yards and it was a good game? You better believe it was. New York's defensive task in Atlanta was a mighty one – stop Michael Vick, Warrick Dunn and by far the league's top rushing club. That's a feat accomplished only once – by the surprising Saints – during the Falcons first five contests. Well, you can now add the Giants to that list.

"It was absolute domination," Brandon Short said. "After a bit of a slow start, absolutely. Michael Vick is arguably the most explosive player in football. But we had a gameplan, and we executed that gameplan very well."

This dangerous Falcons club was averaging more than 234 rushing yards per game, more than 50 yards higher than second-ranked San Diego.

"The defense played great," Short said. "Everybody executed their responsibilities almost to perfection."

Yes, there was the 90-yard Dunn TD run. And the Vick 22-yard score. But after that, Big Blue played basically as well as can be.

"In the second half, if you get rid of that first play (Dunn's run), I'd give us an A+," Strahan said.

"You can't say ‘take away those two plays,'" Antonio Pierce added. "But the rest of the game was solid."

Pierce realized that the Giants did indeed give up a decent amount of yardage, but he felt confident that New York's defense more than accomplished its goals.

"If everybody watched the game they knew what's going on," he said.

This wasn't any ordinary test. There was much more patience and attention to detail required against this run-happy bunch.

"(Staying in position) was huge," Strahan said. "We always had back-up if Vick did get outside. We always had someone to step up and make a play. In the first quarter, he ran around a little bit. We said we would stop it, and in the second half, we pretty much shut them out."

"There was a lot of technical assignment discipline that had to go into this game," Tom Coughlin added.

Sam Madison believes the club's continued preparation has been the key.

"The way we've been practicing the last couple weeks is paying off for us," he said.

Madison turned in his second straight strong showing with a two-turnover performance. He snagged an INT of a tipped pass for his first pick as a Giant and later came out of the pile with a Vick fumble.

"(The INT) definitely feels good," Madison said. "I was in the right place at the right time. That's what interceptions are, being in the right place at the right time."

Short was also in the right place often in Atlanta, posting his second consecutive strong start at WLB and staking his claim to remain the starter even after Carlos Emmons returns from injury.

"It felt great to be out there again," said Short, who led the team in tackles for the second straight week with eight. "I felt comfortable out there running around."

That was obvious as he also posted two sacks of the slippery Vick, causing a fumble in the process.

So, maybe they did give up too many yards. But this defense should be lauded for its second consecutive game-winning performance. Next up? TO and the Cowboys on Monday night.

It says here that they'll be ready for that test as well.

Comeback kids

No, this wasn't exactly the monumental comeback in Philly in Week Two. But it certainly was impressive nonetheless. Trailing the run-oriented Falcons 14-3 in the third quarter fresh off allowing a 90-yard TD run isn't exactly a comfortable position. No problem for these Giants, who just kept on keeping on.

"We still have a lot of questions to answer," Madison said. "But we're progressing in the right direction. I'm proud of the way we hung in there."

Their coach was also very pleased.

"It says a lot about their ability to stay focused," Coughlin said. "You have to be proud of their response to that."

If nothing else, opposing clubs know that they better prepare for a full 60-minute battle when the Giants are across the field. And no, we didn't put too much stock into the almost comeback in Seattle. But they did keep playing when they very easily could have rolled over and played dead. For that they should be commended.

Oh so close

So, did you really think Tiki Barber would be upset that he missed out on scoring his first touchdown of the year? If you did then you haven't been watching and listening to Barber all these years. Barber had his 15-yard scoring run challenged by Falcons coach Jim Mora and overturned. Even though it was Jeremy Shockey that eventually scored the two-yard TD, Barber said he didn't think twice when Brandon Jacobs was sent into the game at that point.

"I told Brandon, ‘this is your job,'" Barber said. "It's a testament to this team. We all know our roles. There's no me-me attitude on this team."

Brotherly love

Hats off to Peyton Manning, who spent part of his bye weekend in Atlanta checking on his younger brother. Bye weeks are oh-so precious commodities – a lone weekend off during more than a four-month stretch. There were so many other places Peyton could have been during his free weekend, yet he took the time to visit Eli. Perhaps such a strong family bond and selflessness are some of the reasons why the Manning brothers are as successful as they are.

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