Engaged with Rams OT Adam Goldberg, Tuck jumped to bat away Marc Bulger's pass. He basically deadened the toss, which dropped right into his mitts. Instantaneously, Tuck had the ball in his clutches and was headed for paydirt. His 41-yard interception return for a touchdown all but officially wrapped up Big Blue's 41-13 victory in St. Louis.
"I jumped up and it kind of hit me right here in my shoulder pads," Tuck explained. "I was able to get control of it and it was off to the races."
Tuck couldn't help but joke about what he said was his first touchdown since his junior year at Notre Dame.
"I was thinking about that Leon Lett play but lucky I was able to look up at the jumbo screen and see I had enough room to slow down," he smiled. "You don't need to sprint into the end zone; act like you have been there before."
His teammates couldn't help but marvel at Tuck's ability to make such an impactful play.
"That was a hell of a play," Antonio Pierce said. "It was a hell of a game by Tuck. The Tuck legend has begun. He showed speed. He showed hands. The whole package."
"I saw him tip it to himself," Fred Robbins added. "He made a spin move and then he took off. We all knew he had some hands, but he just burst out and got in the end zone. Big players make big plays in big games. He showed his athleticism."
Even offensive players couldn't help but throw bouquets at Tuck.
"He did a great job," Amani Toomer said. "It was an amazing play and it gave a real boost to our team and I think at that point we knew we had the game under control."
Tuck was dominant again for the Giants defense, posting two sacks among his three tackles in addition to the game-sealing INT.
Barry Cofield often lines up right next to Tuck on the D-line. He said he was hardly surprised that Tuck was able to turn in such a game-changing performance.
"That's what you dream of as a D-lineman," Cofield said. "He made a great athletic play. The last two years he's playing on a different level than the average guy."
So, what exactly was going through Tuck's mind as he was heading for the goal line?
"Don't get caught," he laughed.
Yes, you were seeing correctly. Shortly before halftime Eli Manning actually not only threw but completed a pass with his left hand. The two-yard gain to Brandon Jacobs prevented a sack and set up John Carney's 33-yard field goal that gave Big Blue a 13-6 halftime edge.
"I didn't want to take a sack in field goal position," Manning explained. "They had pretty good pressure. The guy just had a hold of my right arm. I saw Brandon Jacobs. He caught the ball and we called our last timeout to get a field goal."
Tom Coughlin wasn't surprised at his QB's ambidextrousness, saying that he sometimes practices tossing with his off-hand.
"I do sometimes," Manning said. "I don't know why I do it. I throw a little bit left-handed. I'm not bad at it, but I wouldn't say I'm great at it."
The last two seasons, DT Fred Robbins has posted 5.5 sacks. He and his mates want to see him eclipse that mark in '08. He's certainly off to a great start as Robbins twice nailed Marc Bulger for 14 total yards in losses.
"That was a good feeling," Robbins said. "I had a good matchup and have to capitalize on opportunities."
Justin Tuck is expecting big things from number 98 this season.
"That's why we voted him captain," he said. "He's a very solid football player."
One that's only four sacks away from setting a new career high.
Yup, they did it again. The Giants flew home victorious for the 12th straight time.
"It is a new year and this is our first road game," Coughlin said. "We challenged our team this past week. We put the term, ‘road warriors' on the board and we talked about all the values and virtues that we compiled and the success of last year, so it was the same thing today."
Former Ram Madison Hedgecock, who caught a five-yard pass on the Giants' first drive, was glad to continue New York's road streak in his former home stadium.
"It feels good to win," Madison Hedgecock said. "It shows we're a mentally tough team."
Hixon in for R.W.
R.W. McQuarters' calf injury prevented him from playing in St. Louis. Domenik Hixon took over his duties as the Giants punt returner. Hixon certainly made his mark with a 50-yard punt return in the fourth quarter, finishing with four returns for a total of 76 yards. He also made a nice tackle on kickoff coverage at the start of the third quarter among his two specialty stops.
None of the other Giants inactives were surprising. K Lawrence Tynes (knee), CB Terrell Thomas (hamstring), RB Danny Ware, LB Jonathan Goff (back), OT Adam Koets, DE Dave Tollefson and WR Mario Manningham all didn't suit up at the Edward Jones Dome. Goff is hoping to make his professional debut next week at home against the Bengals.
The last time…
The Giants won by as many as 28 points on the road was in 1996 when they blasted the Lions in Detroit, 35-7.
The Giants are now 23-12 in regular season games played indoors. Only the Redskins with a 25-11 mark are better indoors.
With the win, the Giants now trail in the regular season series with the Rams, 25-13, but Big Blue has won the last four meetings (2002, 2003 and 2005).
On the road again
The Giants improved to 46-33-5 in road openers.
Tuck Seals Giant Deal
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