Ross INT Success Twice as Nice

EAST RUTHERFORD – All season long, Aaron Ross has been in search of that elusive interception. Sure, he's had his chances. Some have slipped right through his hands. Others were misplayed. But on Sunday against the Ravens and dangerous rookie QB Joe Flacco, the second-year Ross' time had finally come. Just ask teammate Fred Robbins.

"I've been telling Aaron all week that he was going to get a pick," Robbins said. "He went out and got two."

Did he ever.

Ross allowed a couple passes in front of him early on. But then he burst onto the scene, recording his first and second picks of the season only a little more than a quarter apart.

The former first-round pick's initial theft came late in the second quarter with the Giants already leading, 20-3. Flacco was looking for Derrick Mason deep down the middle of the field. However, Ross gladly stepped in front of Mason and returned the interception 10 yards.

"We were basically in man coverage and it just so happened that I got a hand on the receiver," Ross explained. "I got under him and he ran an in-route and I was right there for the ball and happy to get my hands on it and make a play."

Ross admitted that once he grabbed that first pick, he was able to play a little more relaxed.

"Oh yeah, Sam (Madison) and R.W. (McQuarters) tell me all the time that once you get your first one the rest come in bunches so hopefully they will just keep coming," Ross smiled.

Madison has made his share of INTs in his career. He had warned Ross earlier in the season that since the Giants were Super Bowl champs, other clubs were going to be scouting New York "inside and out." As a result, he advised Ross just to play his game and remain as patient as possible.

"Today it was Aaron's turn," Madison said. "He capitalized on the quarterback's mistakes."

Flacco's bigger mistake basically sealed New York's victory. Late in the third period, with New York's lead down to 20-10, Flacco fired toward Mason, who was covered nicely by Corey Webster. The ball deflected off the Ravens receiver where it was grabbed in midair by Ross. From there, Ross sprinted 50 yards to the end zone for the back-breaking touchdown.

"I thought it was big," he said. "Anytime you can get an interception and take it to the house and score with it, it's a big momentum change."

Ross is hoping this game serves as a personal momentum-changer as well. He wasn't shy about sharing his disappointment with how badly he believed things had gone up to this point.

"I wouldn't say frustrated," Ross said. "I was just getting a little annoyed with myself because I haven't been making the plays that I know I'm capable of making. To have this come around today, I am happy. You can see the smile on my face."

Just like when he reached the end zone after outracing the Ravens quarterback.

"I did, when I got the pick I looked to the side and there were no receivers, no running backs, and when I looked to the left and saw Flacco and thought I had to beat him to the end zone," Ross said.

Mission accomplished. Being engaged to Olympic Gold medalist sprinter Sanya Richards, Ross just knew he had to reach paydirt.

"No, I couldn't let him catch me because my girl wouldn't let me hear the end of it at the house," he laughed.

The laughter and smiling told the whole story for Aaron Ross. Nine games of sub-par play, at least by his standards, were gone just like that. And he certainly wasn't going to allow a calf strain, which was not believed to be serious, to dampen the mood.

"It's huge," he said. "I felt that I haven't been making some plays I know I can make and to come around and turn it around today is a confidence boost."

Tom Coughlin was just pleased to see all of Ross' hard work finally pay off.

"I tell you I was happy for him," Coughlin said. "He has been real hard on himself with a dropped interception a week ago and he comes up with two very nice ones today."

Hat trick

With a pair of Brandon Jacobs scores and a 1-yard TD catch by Darcy Johnson, the Giants scored on their first three possessions. That was the first time the Giants scored a touchdown on each of their first three offensive possessions since Oct. 10, 1993, in a 41-7 victory at Washington. The touchdowns that day were scored by Lewis Tillman, Howard Cross and Mike Sherrard. Ironically, the Giants missed the extra point after the second touchdown and led 20-0, as they did against Baltimore.

Safety dance

James Butler was active after missing one game with a knee injury, but rookie Kenny Phillips made his second start at free safety. Butler finished the game with four tackles, while Phillips posted a pair.

Breaking through

This was the Giants' first-ever win over Baltimore. They had been 0-2 in the regular season and 0-1 in the postseason.

Tynes gets his kicks

The game in Philadelphia was the first time Tom Coughlin utilized two kickers. Against Baltimore, Lawrence Tynes got the call as New York's only kicker for the first time in 2008.

"The one thing that I was really concerned about going in here was field position and I thought that we would… into the wind, as Lawrence's final kickoff was, was very strong and that is what I was counting on," Coughlin explained of his decision. "It was just a matter of looking at something that I thought was critical in the game and trying to make sure we were in the best possible situation that we were in."

In addition to John Carney, who was replaced by Tynes, the following Giants were inactive against the Ravens: RB Danny Ware, CB Kevin Dockery, LB Jonathan Goff, LB Gerris Wilkinson, OT Adam Koets, WR Mario Manningham and DE Jerome McDougle.

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