Osi Umenyiora made his season debut on Sunday and just in time.
After missing the first three games while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, Umenyiora collected two sacks and had one patented forced fumble to help the Giants beat the Cardinals.
With an injured Justin Tuck watching from the sideline, Umenyiora helped key the Giants’ game-sealing final defensive stop when he sacked Kevin Kolb for a 10-yard loss on a 2nd-and-one at the Giants’ 29 with 1:14 to go.
The play put the Cardinals in a 3rd-and-11 at the Giants’ 39 and ultimately Arizona could not convert a 4th-and-two to keep the game going.
“The cornerbacks played a very good game and gave me time to get there,” Umenyiora said. “Everybody on the D-line played very well today. I’m excited about that.”
The Giants were excited to see some vintage Umenyiora when he came around the edge and stripped Kolb for a fumble in the first quarter.
“That is not surprising,” Tuck said. “We know how capable that guy is. He already has jumped ahead of me with those two sacks. It is awesome having him back.”
Umenyiora said he did not know if his knee experienced any swelling after the game.
“I don’t know,” Umenyiora said. “I can’t even feel nothing right now. I will ice it down and hope for the best.”
He said he was on a 30-35 snap count for the game and did not feel fatigued.
“I am from Africa, man,” Umenyiora said laughing. “I don’t ever get tired.”
“They wanted me to play around 30-35 plays,” he continued. “I was itching to get in there a couple of times. They held me back, probably for my own good.”
The Giants hope to have both Umenyiora and Tuck playing next Sunday against Seattle. Tuck said he knew it was a long shot for him to play even before he got on the plane for Arizona.
“We have done everything possible to give it time to quiet down,” said Tuck, who sat out with pain in his neck and a strained groin. “And hopefully we will see the benefit of it next week.”