NFL.com wire reports
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (Aug. 31, 2006) -- Beating the New England Patriots to cap an unblemished preseason was the
perfect present for New York Giants coach Tom
Coughlin on his 60th birthday.
Now if omens only come true: The last time New York didn't lose in the
preseason was 1990, the last time it won the Super Bowl.
"It's a great way to teach, when it's positive," said Coughlin, who was
a Giants assistant under Bill Parcells in 1990. "We had an opportunity
to look at a lot of young guys. Now we're into the real season. It's
been a positive preseason for us, and hopefully it will continue. We
laid a foundation we can continue to build on."
Backup halfback Brandon Jacobs rushed
for 130 yards and scored on runs of 57 and 2 yards as the Giants (4-0)
defeated the Tom Brady-less Patriots
31-23 at Giants Stadium.
James Sims scored on a 3-yard run, Jay
Feely had a 29-yard field goal and Tim
Hasselbeck threw a late touchdown for New York. The defending
NFC East champions will open the regular season a week from Sunday
against the Colts in the much-anticipated matchup of Peyton and Eli Manning.
"I am excited how we played this entire preseason," said Tiki Barber,
who carried once before giving way to Jacobs.
Heath Evans scored on a 1-yard run and rookie Stephen Gostkowski added three field goals for the Patriots (2-2),
who left Brady home. Patrick Cobbs
added a late TD run for the AFC East champions, who open their season on
Sept. 10 at home against Buffalo. Center Dan
Koppen thinks his team can be good this year.
Brandon Jacobs fights hard for some of his game-high 130 yards against the Patriots.
"I think we have a shot," Koppen said. "There are 31 other teams that
feel the same way. It's how you come together and how much you are
willing to work for it. I think we have a team willing to put in the
For the most part, both teams played their starters only one series.
There was only one major scare. Giants Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Strahan went down on the first series in obvious pain after a
tackle. It looked serious for a minute, but the team later said he was
kicked in the groin.
The only problem was a leg injury sustained by Patriots backup
linebacker Barry Gardner. He was taken
off the field on a golf cart. Belichick said the team would know more on
Sept. 1, but he refused to say what the problem was.
Manning finished 4 for 5 for 35 yards, while Jared Lorenzen was 10 for 15 for 116 yards. Patriots starter Matt Cassel was 15 for 28 for 196 and one interception.
New England's first-team offense didn't miss Brady, at least on the
opening series. Cassel moved them 67 yards in 14 plays, with Evans
capping the drive on fourth down.
The most memorable play was Strahan going down and being trampled and
kicked at the Giants' 19.
The Giants offense tried to answer, but a 51-yard field-goal attempt by
Feely was blocked by Roosevelt Colvin.
Jacobs tied the game early in the second quarter, following fullback Tony Jackson through a hole on the left side and rambling 57 yards
for a touchdown.
"I wanted to get out and show people I can run," said Jacobs, who looks
more like a middle linebacker than a halfback. "When folks watch film, I
want them to say he's all right. He can move. He's not just the big
Belichick provided a novelty on the next series and put punt returner Troy Brown at quarterback. Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn forced halfback Cobbs to fumble on the second
play and Carlos Emmons recovered.
"To develop his legend," Belichick quipped when asked about using Brown,
who has also played defensive back for New England.
A 15-yard end around by Michael Jennings helped set up Feely's field
Lorenzen, trying to win the Giants' backup job from Hasselbeck, fumbled
a shotgun snap late in the first half and New England safety Artrell Hawkins recovered. Gostkowski tied the game at 10 with a
29-yard field goal on the final play of the half.
Jacobs and Sims ran for TDs in the second half and Hasselbeck threw a
26-yard touchdown pass to tight end Darcy Johnson.
Gostkowski added field goals of 54 and 25 yards in the second half,
finishing the preseason 9 for 9 as Adam Vinatieri
"I haven't been really tested yet," said Gostkowski, who previous long
this preseason was 37 yards. "We'll have to see if I can keep it up in
the regular season. I am happy with what is going on so far. I have to
work harder to get better."
Notes: Giants LB LaVar Arrington didn't dress for the game. ...
Cobbs led the Patriots with 45 yards rushing on 12 carries. With
receiver Deion Branch still holding out, the Patriots saw Bam Childress
catches six passes for 116 yards. ... Giants top draft pick Mathias
Kiwanuka had a sack and an interception. New England top draft pick
Laurence Maroney did not play.