Umenyiora helps Giants tie sack record in 16-3 win over Eagles
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A defense that was written off two weeks ago as the worst in the NFL has the New York Giants back in the hunt.
After giving up 80 points in two games, the defense pitched a second-half shutout to beat Washington and followed that on Sunday night with a record-setting sack performance that embarrassed Donovan McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Osi Umenyiora had a team-record six sacks and the Giants (2-2) set a franchise record and tied a league one by sacking McNabb 12 times in a 16-3 victory that brought back memories of Lawrence Taylor intimidating opposing quarterbacks at will.
"In a lot of ways, a lot of people don't expect a lot out of us," defensive end Michael Strahan said. "To be a defense that gave up 80 points in two games, everybody says: 'You're done. You're finished.' For us, it was: 'Well it's a long season."
The victory kept the Giants two games behind Dallas (4-0) in the NFC East and dropped the Eagles (1-3) three games back heading into an off week.
"Last week we able to get some pressure on the quarterback," said Umenyiora, whose sack total was one shy of Derrick Thomas' NFL record. "We knew we would eventually get some sacks. We have some of the best pass rushers in the league on this team. We put it all together today."
Coming into the game, the Giants had only four sacks in three games. They had five in the first half, and kept sending McNabb to the ground unmercifully in the second.
Strahan felt sorry for Justice.
"That poor kid that they had over there," Strahan said. "Why didn't they help him? I felt, in an odd way, you could ruin the guy. It's his first start and that's what he gets. It's not a good thing."
This is fifth time a team had 12 sacks. The last was Dallas against the Houston Oilers on Sept. 29, 1985.
"It's amazing to get 12 sacks," Strahan said. "Osi with six is absolutely phenomenal. I've never seen somebody get sacks like that, going from last in the league to probably leading the league."
Justice accepted responsibility.
"I am going to shoulder the loss for the team," he said. "I got out of my technique, tried to make adjustments and they just didn't work."
McNabb took the pain on a night the Eagles played without halfback Brian Westbrook (abdominal strain), their catalyst on offense.
A week ago with Westbrook in the lineup, Philadelphia beat Detroit 56-21. Without him, they did nothing.
"It's frustrating," said McNabb, who finished 15-of-31 for 138 yards. "For an offense that has had so much success over the previous years, for us to come out and play the way we played today is embarrassing."
Lawrence Tynes, who missed a first quarter field goal attempt and a later extra point, added a 29-yard field goal in the third quarter.
The defense then closed out the scoring when linebacker Kawika Mitchell returned a fumble by McNabb 17 yards for a touchdown.
Besides the sacks and the fumble, Philadelphia had 15 penalties for 132 yards, including a dreadful illegal forward pass against McNabb with 2:24 to play. It nullified a 20-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Brown and prevented the Eagles from making it a ballgame at 16-10.
Eagles left tackle Jon Runyan said the Giants didn't do anything different.
"We did all the bad stuff, putting ourselves in bad situations and third and long," Runyan said. "That's just telling the defense exactly what you are going to do."
David Akers, who missed a 42-yard field goal in the second quarter, hit a 53-yarder in the fourth quarter to get Philadelphia on the board.
The Giants' honorary captains were Taylor, fellow Hall of Famer Harry Carson along with fellow linebacker Brad Van Pelt and Brian Kelley. ... Giants TE Michael Matthews dislocated a finger. ...Correll Buckhalter rushed 17 times for 103 yards filling in for Westbrook. The Eagles also played without CB Lito Sheppard and S Brian Dawkins.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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