Boley Gets Last Laugh

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Most players try to downplay facing off against their former team and teammates. Michael Boley is obviously not one of them. Boley was basically demoted by the Falcons staff for no apparent reason last season and still hasn't forgotten about it – or stopped using it as motivation. It clearly showed during New York's thrilling overtime victory over Atlanta.

While he might have occasionally struggled trying to cover future Hall-of-Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez (who hasn't?), Boley led the game with 13 total tackles and was a sideline-to-sideline force. Boley also had a five-yard sack, two tackles for losses and two QB hits. All in all it was as good a day as he could have hoped for.

"I'm really excited that we got the win today, especially with the way the game was for me," a jubilant Boley said afterward. "Both teams came into a ‘must-win' game today. And for it to come down how it did, it was real exciting. It was one of those games where a lot of plays were made by both teams on either side of the ball. This was like a shot of penicillin for us today. For me, personally, I'm very proud of this team and the way all of our guys played today. They showed a lot of heart and a lot of character."

Giants Coach Tom Coughlin surely noted the effort of his weak side linebacker.

"He scrapped, he worked, he played hard," Coughlin said. "He was in position to make some plays, which he did. Hopefully we are going to keep getting better as he gets more time."

Atlanta had no choice but to notice number 52 flying around out there.

"It was very special," Boley said of the victory. "It felt great. Being in a game like this you can't do anything but be excited."

Boley continued his honest assessment that this was not just any old game.

"It was no secret," he said. "If you know the story of how I left there…there was no sugarcoating it."

Ross' big return

No, he didn't start. But for Aaron Ross, sidelined for the season's first nine games with a nagging hamstring injury, it was just nice to be back out on the field. Where he played didn't matter in the least. Ross, a corner by trade, actually totaled four tackles mostly playing safety in the Giants sub defensive packages.

"It felt great to be back and it felt great to be able to contribute in a game like this," Ross said. "I was able to knock the dust off a little bit. I felt really comfortable back there. I still have to learn a lot of techniques at the safety position. But I'll play wherever they want me to play, wherever they need me. We definitely have to tighten up our defense and we actually have to come out and play a better defensive game. But this is a real confidence builder, especially winning in OT."

AP on the shelf

While Ross returned to action, the defense suffered a huge blow two nights before the game. Say what you will about how Antonio Pierce has played of late. But there's no doubt that his absence will certainly have an adverse effect on New York's defense.

Last Friday, Pierce was diagnosed with a bulging disc in his neck and will be sidelined indefinitely, according to the team's medical staff.

Pierce underwent an MRI on Friday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan and was examined by team physician Dr. Russell Warren and Dr. Frank Camissa, Chief of the Spinal Surgical Services at HSS.

Pierce originally suffered a burner in the Arizona game on Oct. 25 and experienced very little discomfort until practice last week, at which point the team's medical staff scheduled the MRI.

"I'm shocked with what I heard from the doctors this afternoon," Pierce said. "I had no idea that what happened a few weeks ago could keep me off the field. I didn't think it was that serious. I'm going to do everything the doctors tell me to do so I can get back out on the field as soon as possible."

In his absence, Chase Blackburn started at middle linebacker and made seven tackles.

Streak snappers

Not only did New York snap its four-game losing streak but the Giants also snapped a crazy streak against the Falcons. Before New York's home victory, the visiting team in the series had won the last 12 games, which was the longest such streak in NFL history. Before last Sunday, the last victory by a home team in the series was 30 years ago, on Nov. 11, 1979, a 24-3 Giants triumph in Giants Stadium. The Giants are now just 2-5 overall against the Falcons in Giants Stadium and the all-time series is tied at 10 wins apiece.

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