Burress in trouble with the man

Plaxico Burress heads the roundup of news for the New York Giants as they prepare to travel to Heinz Field to take on the Steelers.

Don't look now, but there might be yet another Plaxico Burress mess just around the corner.

The Giants' superstar wide receiver, who just returned from a two-week (one game) suspension for missing a team meeting/practice and not notifying head coach Tom Coughlin or general manager Jerry Reese, was at it again during Sunday's victory over San Francisco, 29-17.

Burress was flagged for offensive pass interference in the second quarter, which he interpreted as so outrageously unfair he pursued the official and drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

When he trotted off the field, Coughlin turned and reportedly screamed, "What are you doing?"

To which Burress, reportedly responded: "Anything I (expletive) want to do."

Coughlin did not choose to answer questions about the flare-up after the game.

"What's all this about?" Coughlin said. "We just won a game; why not talk about something like that?"

Burress was somewhat more open after the game, at least to a point.

"No, I don't regret it," he said. "I don't regret doing anything. It was the worst call I've ever seen. And why did he (back judge Terrence Miles) call it? Did he see it?"

But talking back to the head coach during a game on the sidelines?

That is not normal procedure. "Hey, man," Plaxico said, "it was in the heat of the moment. Things weren't going my way and I said what I had to say. I never touched the guy. It was one of the worst calls I've ever seen. I never touched him so I don't know how they could have called it pass interference. But it happened. He made the call. I said what I had to say to him and he threw the (15-yard) flag and I moved on."

Any regrets? "No, I don't regret it at all because I'm competing," he snapped. "I'm out there playing my tail off to go out and make plays and I want the referees to do the same thing. When I'm out there competing and doing everything I'm supposed to do to help my team, he just steals it from me so of course I'm going to say something. He was the back judge. Why didn't the referee in the middle of the field, or the side judge make the call? The guy from the back made it and I didn't understand it."

Burress figures to be fined by the NFL for his comments regarding the officiating. On the other hand, if he is fined by the team for Plaxico being Plaxico, it will not be announced. Reportedly, there have been 40 to 50 such fines for "minor infractions" during his four-plus seasons with the Giants.


--The Giants held the 49ers to a net of 35 yards rushing, lowest this season and lowest since Nov. 18 of last year when they held Detroit to 25.

--For the second time in six games, QB Eli Manning was not sacked. In fact, he has been sacked only six times in six games. Last year he was dropped 27 times in 16 regular season games. "I would think our primary job is to protect our quarterback," says ORT Kareem McKenzie. "That's our first consideration."

--Having waltzed through their first six games against relatively weak teams, the Giants now begin a far more difficult 10-game stretch to finish the regular season. They'll face Dallas (twice), Philadelphia (twice), Baltimore, Washington, Carolina, Minnesota, Arizona and Pittsburgh, this Sunday. Mathematically, splitting the final 10 games should get them a playoff berth, but that's not the way they can win the NFC East, either. "One game at a time," said Manning. "The next game on the schedule is almost the most important one of the year."


--MLB Antonio Pierce missed Sunday's game. He had started the previous 42 games for the Giants. He hadn't missed any action since the final four games of the 2005 season, which included a wild-card playoff defeat. "I'll be back next week," he said. "I think I aggravated the injury (a strained quadriceps) by playing last week in Cleveland."

--MLB Chase Blackburn replaced Pierce and finished with 10 tackles to lead the team. He also had a 13-yard sack, two tackles for losses and forced a fumble. "I loved it," he said. "Playing the full game was a treat. But I don't want the job because A.P. was injured."

--RB Brandon Jacobs gained 69 yards in 17 carries and scored two touchdowns giving him 516 yards for the season and four touchdowns. "I ran hard and they (the 49ers) tackled hard," he said. "It was a satisfying game."

--TE Kevin Boss cleared Jacobs for his longest run of the game (26 yards) and afterward smiled when someone asked if he regretted not catching a pass. "Not when we're winning and I'm playing," said Boss, who has six catches all season. "My blocking is getting better and that's the first way I can help the team to keep winning."

--K John Carney missed his first field goal of the year, when 49ers linebacker Manny Lawson blocked his second attempt of the game, which was returned 74 yards by CB Nate Clements for a score. He then clicked on his third attempt, a 48-yarder. "Missing the field goal was just one of those things," he said. "The guy (Lawson) made a great athletic play. Give him credit."


PASSING OFFENSE: B -- It was a case of do no harm for QB Eli Manning, who had precise performance and managed the game well. He completed 15 of 31 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown but wasn't sacked. For the second game in a row he turned WR Steve Smith, a second-year player, into the team's leading receiver. Primarily, this was because the 49ers spent much time double-covering WR Plaxico Burress. Smith had four receptions for 39 yards while Burress had three for 24 but caught Manning's only TD pass, a 14-yarder. The "new offense" that doesn't involve the tight end very much in the passing game worked well again. TE Kevin Boss was clutch with his blocking and, in fact, opening the final lane for RB Brandon Jacobs' game-long dash of 24 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- The Giants gained 112 yards rushing, not nearly their best output of the season but an efficient performance that did not include a single turnover. RB Brandon Jacobs, the team's leading rusher, added 69 yards to his season total that has now reached 516 and scored twice on runs of 26 and two yards. RB Ahmad Bradshaw, who hadn't been used much in recent weeks, carried the ball eight times for 28 yards and caught one pass. Boss and OLT David Diehl were instrumental in blocking for the run when the plays went wide, and C Shaun O'Hara teamed with RG Chris Snee and LG Rich Seubert to open the middle. It was, all in all, an unspectacular but workmanlike rushing game.

PASS DEFENSE: B-minus -- J.T. O'Sullivan completed 16 of 28 passes for 256 yards and a TD, but more importantly converted 12 first downs by passing. In all, the 49ers had 13 first downs. He was sacked six times and despite the presence of superstar running back Frank Gore, it was the journeyman QB who led the team in rushing with four scrambles for 27 yards. FS Michael Johnson, a second-year player, had the first two interceptions of his career, one leading to a field goal and the other snuffing a 49ers' drive deep in Giant territory. On the down side, LCB Aaron Ross continued to have extreme difficulty covering receivers; two weeks ago it was Cleveland's Braylon Edwards and Sunday it was 49er rookie Josh Morgan, who caught five passes for 86 yards and one touchdown. DE Justin Tuck had two sacks, giving him five for the season but keeping him one behind DT Fred Robbins, who had one sack.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- Frank Gore was limited to 11 carries and 11 rushing yards as the team clearly concentrated on the 49ers' running game to force J.T. O'Sullivan to pass. Chase Blackburn, starting for injured veteran Antonio Pierce, led the team with 10 tackles and twice dropped Gore behind the line of scrimmage for costly losses. Reserve DE Dave Tollefson had five tackles, and DE Mathias Kiwanuka added four. DE Justin Tuck had three tackles, all in the backfield for losses, and twice forced fumbles. DTs Fred Robbins and Barry Cofield combined for four tackles, three of them for losses.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- K John Carney finally missed a field goal when his second of three attempts was blocked and returned 74 yards for a touchdown by 49ers CB Nate Clements. But Carney made his other two, one from 48 yards, and now has made 14 of 15 on the season. P Jeff Feagles, who was a little slow on the hold for Carney's blocked attempt, punted six times for a 48.8 average (45.5 net). Ahmad Bradshaw had five kickoff returns for a 21.8 average. Kick coverage resulted in three 49ers punt returns for zero yards and an 18.8 kickoff return average in six attempts.

COACHING: B -- Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo obviously attempted to force young QB J.T. O'Sullivan to pass by shutting down the 49ers' running game, and it worked flawlessly. Star RB Frank Gore had 11 yards rushing, the team had 35 and it was O'Sullivan who was the "leading rusher" with 27 yards on four run-for-your-life scrambles. Offensively, coordinator Kevin Gilbride is still mysteriously reluctant to use RB Ahmad Bradshaw except on token opportunities, but overall it was a smart mix of run and pass, concentrating on the rushing game. The Giants ran the ball 32 times and passed exactly half that many times. Head coach Tom Coughlin is having success with his careful use of QB Eli Manning, not creating situations where he must pass but setting up a game plan that will allow him to manage the game at peak efficiency.

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