Tue, Nov 01, 2005 - Page 20 News List

NY Giants rout Redskins

WEEK 8 The New York Giants' defense, statistically the league's second worst, had a regular-season shutout for the first time in nearly seven years in the 36-0 victory

AP AND NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY AND FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS

Tight end Stephen Alexander, right, of the Broncos makes a one-handed catch in the end zone for a touchdown during the second quarter against Jeremiah Trotter of the Eagles at Invesco Field in Denver, Colorado, on Sunday. Denver won 49-21.

PHOTO: AFP

One play remained for a game that had been, for all practical purposes, over for an hour, and the Giants' co-owner, John Mara, made his way to the locker room. He shook the hand of the security guard at the door, then waited, where his father always did, just inside the L-shaped entrance.

The clock expired on a dominating 36-0 victory over the Washington Redskins, an effort that sent a message to the rest of the league that the Giants, now 5-2 and alone in first place in the National Football Conference East, must be considered a serious playoff contender.

The more immediate message, players and coaches said, was the one they sent in support of the family of Wellington T. Mara, the longtime Giants owner who died Tuesday at the age of 89.

The players arrived to the locker room wearing a "WTM" patch on the chest of their blue uniforms. One by one they stopped, shook the hand of John Mara and whispered kind words. Minutes later, Mara was brought to the middle of the room and presented with the game ball by quarterback Eli Manning.

The Giants' defense, statistically the league's second worst, had a regular-season shutout for the first time in nearly seven years. Tiki Barber rushed for a career-high 206 yards on 24 carries. The Giants could not have scripted the afternoon any better.

"That's exactly how he would have preferred it," Mara said of his father.

Before Sunday's NFL games, no team had a bigger differential between yards allowed and yards gained than the Redskins, who averaged 387.2 yards of offense and only 266.0 yards on defense.

The Giants turned that statistic inside out. They outgained the Redskins by 386-125, including by 261-34 in the first half.

"Usually if you win a game, two phases have played very well and, somewhere along the line, one of the phases is not able to," coach Tom Coughlin said. "On a day like today when all three played extremely well -- I don't want to say it's rare; I'd like to see it happen more often -- but it's difficult to do."

The best sign for the Giants was the emergence of its maligned defense against what had been one of the NFL's most balanced and prolific offenses. Quarterback Mark Brunell, harassed by the Giants' pass rush, completed 11 of 28 passes, although his receivers dropped at least a half-dozen of the throws. Brunell, sacked three times and intercepted once, was pulled from the game in favor of Patrick Ramsey with the game out of reach late in the third quarter.

Ramsey led Washington's only more-than-meager drive. On a fourth-and-goal play from the 5-yard line, the score already 36-0, tight end Robert Royal had his hands on a pass in the end zone. The ball fell to the ground as he was hit by Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce.

The crowd, announced at 78,630, roared its appreciation.

"He would have loved that goal-line stand to preserve the shutout," Giants General Manager Ernie Accorsi said, referring to Wellington Mara.

A week earlier, the Redskins scored 52 points against the San Francisco 49ers, the only NFL team with a defense ranked lower than the Giants'. But the Giants held the Redskins to two first downs on seven first-half drives. Five of Washington's drives during the game netted negative yardage, and the Redskins held the ball for only 20 minutes, 39 seconds, 12 minutes fewer than their average.

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