Giants Take Advantage In Win Over Saints
In what was billed as the Saints home opener away from the Superdome due to Hurricane Katrina at Giants Stadium, the Giants (2-0) took advantage of an extra home game defeating the Saints (1-1) 27-10 in the first of a special NFL doubleheader Monday night. Dallas versus Washington followed. In an effort to raise money for Katrina, the league held a special telethon that successfully raised $5 million.
Before 68,031 fans with 10,000 seats unsold, the Giants fed off the energy of the crowd and six Saints turnovers in a game they never trailed in.
"They made this seem like the Super Bowl,'' quarterback Aaron Brooks said regarding the NFL hoopla. "We played a team that outplayed us today, but it was way overdone. Setting up a stage, traveling out here, was uncalled for.
``Try not to patronize us next time, traveling us to New York, saying we're playing a home game.''
"We were in the visiting locker room, on the visiting field," added coach Jim Haslett. "It seemed like an away game.''For New Orleans, it was bad from the outset when on the game's first play, Michael Lewis tried a reverse with Fred McAfee that resulted in a fumble recovered by the Giants Chase Blackburn at the 10. It took the Giants just three plays to capitalize when rookie Brandon Jacobs scored from one yard out for a 7-0 lead to loud cheers.
It went from bad to worse for the Saints on the Giants next possession when Eli Manning tossed a six-yard touchdown pass to Tiki Barber for a 14-0 lead.
The Saints finally got back into it when Aaron Brooks connected with Joe Horn on a 21-yard touchdown on a critical third down. In a losing effort, Horn finished with a game high nine receptions for 143 yards.
"They didn't just beat our butts and drag us all over the field,'' Horn said. "We gave them the ball and they capitalized."
After Carlos Emmons intercepted a Brooks pass for one of three New York picks on the night, the Giants caught a break that kept their third touchdown drive alive. Benefiting from one of the Saints' 11 first half penalties for 72 yards, it was setup by a critical illegal contact penalty on Sedrick Hodge, which negated a third down sack of Manning. When Tiki Barber ran in untouched from 12 yards out for his second score of the game, it gave the Giants a 21-7 cushion.
With the first half winding down, James Butler's fumble on a punt return setup a John Carney 21-yard field goal that cut the lead to 21-10 at halftime.
In the second half, a Brooks fumble led to a Jay Feeley 39-yard field goal that made it 24-10.
After a Saints drive stalled when Carney hit the left upright on a 29-yard try, Feely extended the lead to 27-10 with a 30-yarder.
The Giants D sacked Brooks four times including one from All-Pro Michael Strahan, who played with a sore back. Second-year defensive end Osi Umenyiora finished with a career high two sacks.
"It was supposedly their home game, but we just played like it was our home game,'' mentioned Umenyiora.
"That's one of the loudest I've heard the stadium in a long time, and it wasn't even full,'' Giants tight end Jeremey Shockey said.
"As players, we hear that and it really helps us out.''
Shockey and Plaxico Burress each finished with five catches for 64 yards. Barber rushed for 83 yards and Manning was 13-of-24 for 165 yards, one TD and no turnovers.
Notes: Giants are 2-0 for first time since 2000....The Saints had a five-game win streak dating back to last season snapped. Saints RB Deuce McAllister surpassed George Rogers for first all-time in career rushing yards as a Saint with 4,305. Rogers' mark was 4,258.