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Mikefan - Gamegirl Reviews
Game 7
  1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Saints 3 0 0 0 3
Giants 7 17 7 0 31
Preview E-Giants Recap ESPN Recap ESPN Stats
    CNN Recap CNN Stats

Gamegirl, it must have been nice in the stands right?
"You bet, the Giants really needed a game like this, and the fans needed a game like this. Usually when they announce the team, they call out the Defense and they haven't been mentioning the Offense to avoid the negative responses. When this game started, they announced the Defense, and there wasn't much of a response from the crowd at all. They were sort of indifferent, and it's like the Giants are losing their audience.
I looked around me, and saw a different mix of people and thought maybe I was in the wrong seats. There are a lot of new faces as people are starting to give their tickets away. The regular fans are really starting to turn from the Giants, and that's not something we're used to seeing around here."

Maybe after that big win things will change.
"I hope so. I'm used to the Giants "fan attitude" that's been lacking this season, and it's distracting to see some fans get off on being so negative when things don't work right down on the field. It's much more fun when all the fans are pulling for the Giants even if they don't win the game."

Gamegirl, we heard you were photographed at the game?
"Yes, a reporter from NFL films came over and asked if he could take my picture.
I think he liked the fact that I was wearing my Giants hat and sweater and wraparound sunglasses. He set up the camera and all, and I didn't think a simple picture would take over ten minutes to set up. It was near the end of the second half, and he was trying to pick up the reflection of the game in my sunglasses."

You didn't miss the touchdown catch by Joe Jurevicius did you?
"No, it was over by then, and that was really some play by JJ, but with all the action on the field, the NFL film guy kind of disappeared on me, so I have no idea when or where the picture will be used. I was trying to pay attention to the game while the picture taking was going on. I don't want you guys to fire me for missing anything while I was distracted from the game."

Hey, that would never happen, but we'll take half of your photo fee.
"OK, and I'll put you guys in charge of collecting it. If anyone sees a picture of the Giants game reflected in my sunglasses on TV or in a magazine somewhere, please send me an email.
Anyway, back to the game. It looks like that new kicker, Cary Blanchard, is working out as a replacement for Daluiso. Joe Montgomery had some nice runs, especially that TD run where he did that spinning thing. He's going to be good. Kent Graham had a lot of pass completions in some real tight spots and that nice touchdown run.
You can never say enough about the defense and the excitement they generate.
A few of them got hurt on one of the Saints drive, one after another. Then, in something that only happens in a Giants game, they came back and it seemed like each one made big plays. My favorite, Jason Sehorn is quietly getting more in the mix week by week. I have my eye on him."

Any thoughts on next week against the Eagles?
"Well, the Giants just have to keep at it. This was a good start. Now let's continue it!"

Gamegirl certainly enjoyed the game, how about you?
"She always has a good time. That's nothing new, and like Gamegirl said, the team needed a win like this as well as the fans, including me.
It's going to be nice to have a week without reading about the quarterback situation or about the defense carrying the game for the offense, and without all the 'what's wrong' articles.
I still believe the whole thing this season comes back down to the running game.
That problem is far from solved with the continuing injuries, but look how the offense was able to pass the ball and sustain some drives even with a minimal running game.

We all saw some nice runs, but when you get down to it, Joe Montgomery, and Leshon Johnson each averaged only 2 yards a carry.
The 'threat' of what they could do on the ground was enough to give Kent Graham that extra bit of space that all quarterbacks need to air the ball out.
He threw into some tight situations including the TD pass to Toomer."

They didn't start off good.
"Right, the opening possession was a horror. They were sacked 3 times, had a holding penalty, Kent Graham fumbled the ball, but it was recovered by Gragg. There was a nice pass to Pete Mitchell for 25 yards mixed in there, but the 7 plays netted them only 9 yards.
It looked like it was going to be a long day
The Saints opened up with a Flea Flicker and got 25 yards off it.
Things weren't looking good right then, but then Sehorn and Widmer stopped Ricky Williams for minus one yard, and the defense settled in and that was it for them on that drive."

The Giants had their own surprises.
"Yes, on the second possession, after Graham hit Toomer on a 3rd and 9 for 23 yards, the Giants called a double reverse and Hilliard picked up 24 yards.
They continued driving, mixing it up with runs and with Mitchell picking up a 16 yard pass, until Kent Graham ran it in for 6 yards and the TD. Blanchard got his first extra point kick and the Giants were up 7-0."

Gamegirl didn't recall that double reverse play when we asked her.
"We talked about that once before. Gamegirl said that when you're at the game and they do things like that, you tend to get fooled just like the opposing team, and don't know what's happening for a second. There's a lot of running around, but you don't know who has the ball. At home, the camera man picks up on it, and it's a little easier to follow.
People at the game pick it up on the replay screen later.
Anyway, the Saints got the ball back and on their drive, Tolliver nailed a pass over the middle for 29 yards to Craver, and Ricky Williams followed it with a 22 yard run.
It became 4th and one at the Giants 8 yard line and the Saints settled for a Doug Brien 25 yard field goal. The quarter was over and the score was 7-3.

Bashir Levingston started the second quarter off with a 32 yard return to the Giants 43. Graham completed passes on this drive to Ike Hilliard, Tiki Barber, and Pete Mitchell, and set up the opportunity for Blanchard to try a 41 field goal which we were all glad to see he could do, and the score went to 10-3.
Next the Saints went 3 and out. The Giants got a first down, and then they tried the "famous" pitchback play that all the fans hate, and that went for minus 4. The Giants ended up Punting on that drive, and the Saints went three and out again."

The Giants get it at their own 44 with 3:48 left.
"Right, and they mix up runs and passes until Graham hits Toomer for a 27 yard touchdown, and the score goes to 17-3.
The Saints end up with the ball on their own 33 with only 1:03 left in the half.
Strahan knocks Lamar Smith for a 5 yard loss on the run, and now with a 2nd and 15, they should be thinking 'lockerroom', but instead they call a time out.
QB Billy Joe Tolliver tries two passes incomplete, and after the kick, the Giants end up with ball on their own 22 with 32 seconds left. The Giants try a pass and when it goes incomplete, they send Tiki on a run, and he ends up with 9. It's 3rd and 1, but there's a lot of field to cover, so the Giants are thinking 'lockerroom' and letting it go, but Ditka calls for a time out.

Fassel looked pissed off on the sidelines, and when Graham did the QB keeper thing for the first down, the Giants called their first time out with only 12 seconds left on their own 35.
Two plays later, Kent Graham's Hail Mary pass from the Giants own 47 lands in Joe Jurevicius' hands for a touchdown and the Giants have a 24-3 halftime lead.
I was actually surprised to hear that they spend very much time on that kind of a play, but they practice it every Friday. Toomer is supposed to tip the ball unless he thinks he can catch it, and Joe Jurevicius is supposed to be behind everyone in the end zone. Well, it worked as advertised.

Graham had 216 yards at the half.
"Yes, and no Giants quarterback has thrown for 300 yards since Phil Simms in 1993. The thing is though, that Jim Fassel had a nice lead, and that made it as good a time as any to get the running game going. Kent Graham only threw 8 more passes for the rest of the game.
Besides that, the defense had barely played in the first half.
The Offense held the ball for almost 21 minutes, and how are the Giants going to show that they have the best defense in football if they don't get on the field and play some?
Later when Kent Graham was asked about settling for 239 passing yards when they had a shot at 300, he said, 'I'll take the win. I've been saying all along that we were close, and today we came out and did what we've been saying we can do.'
So that was it for the first half, and the 24 points the Giants scored during it were the most in a half since they scored 25 against the Lions in 1996."

The time of possession was almost equal in the 3rd quarter.
"Right, and the Giants got their 7 points near the end of it when a Tolliver pass was intercepted by Jessie Armstead who returned it for 31 yards to the Saints 12 yard line. Then rookie Joe Montgomery, pleased the crowd some more with that spinning 12-yard touchdown run Gamegirl told you of in her review.
It's bound to make the highlights film along with Gamegirl's picture, whatever that was all about!

The wild thing about that 3rd quarter was the number of injuries the defense picked up on that one Saints drive. On one play, Jessie Armstead was hurt down on the field with bruised ribs, and Ellsworth sprained his foot, and hobbled off to the sidelines. A few plays later, Shaun Williams strained his left hamstring, so Ellsworth limped back because with rookie Lyle West inactive with a hamstring, there were no other safeties.
Sehorn blitzed and hit Saints QB Tolliver while he was throwing, and it was picked off by Ellsworth at the Giants 7. He returned it 13 yards to the Giants 20 yard line.
He later said, 'When I first saw the ball, I didn't think I could get to it, but when I saw I could, I told myself to forget the pain in my foot. When I first got it, I thought I might run it back all the way.
But with the pain in my foot, I started hoping for someone to come over and tackle me.'
The 3rd quarter ended with the score at 31-3.

In the 4th Quarter Armstead came back.
"I wasn't surprised. This defense wants to be No. 1 in the league, and just as they've made up their minds to ignore what the offense does when they score a small amount of points, they ignored the fact that they were up by so much, and still wanted to keep the Saints out of the endzone and they made several stands late in the game to stop them.
Sam Garnes and Corey Widmer were great, stopping Ricky Williams for no gain 3 yards from the end zone. On the next play on 4th and 3, Jason Sehorn deflected a ball intended for Andre Hastings.
The Giants couldn't move it much, and Maynard had a short punt. The Saints returned it to the Giants 16 yard line.

On the very next play, Ryan Phillips intercepted Billy Joe Tolliver at the 3. and then, following a Joe Montgomery fumble, the Saints had yet another shot at the end zone.
They had four downs to make 3 yards, and they got nothing. Kent Graham came in and downed the ball. The defensive effort at the end of that game was pure Giants. They fought through their injuries not to give up the 'so-what' touchdown."

Gamegirl said that the place emptied out in the 4th Quarter.
"Hey, New York is a busy town. The game looked to be in hand with the 28 point lead, and people were wondering if the Jets were going to be able to turn it around, and there was the second game of the World Series to get to right after that.
It didn't help us get our article out early this week."

RUSHING -- New Orleans
R.Williams 24-111, Powell 1-1, Wuerffel 1-0, L.Smith 1-(minus-5). RUSHING --GIANTS
Johnson 18-36, Montgomery 14-28, Hilliard 1-24, Graham 3-9, Barber 1-9.

PASSING -- New Orleans
Tolliver 14-33-3-176, L.Smith 0-1-0-0, Wuerffel 0-1-0-0.
PASSING --GIANTS, Graham 19-29-1-239.
RECEIVING -- New Orleans
Kennison 5-62, Craver 3-51, Wilcox 2-30, Dawsey 2-18, Hastings 1-24, R.Williams 1-(minus-9).
Mitchell 5-69, Toomer 3-59, Hilliard 3-17, Jurevicius 2-63, Johnson 2-16, Way 2-6, Barber 1-7, Cross 1-2.

PUNT RETURNS -- New Orleans, Kennison 3-31.
KICKOFF RETURNS -- New Orleans, Philyaw 3-57, Davis 2-55.
KICKOFF RETURNS -- GIANTS, Levingston 1-32.

Rookie Ricky Williams was 24-111 and got his first 100+ yard game.

Billy Joe Tolliver was 14-of-33 for 176 yards and 3 INTs.

Kent Graham finished the day 19-of-29 for 239 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT.

TE Pete Mitchell had his best game this year, catching 5 passes for 69 yards, and 4 of them were for first downs.

Jurevicius caught 2 passes for 63 yards.

Toomer had 3 catches for 59 yards.

Percy Ellsworth got his 4th interception of the season.

LG Jason Whittle made his first NFL start in place of Luke Petitgout (ankle).

CB Jeremy Lincoln wound up playing free safety for the first time since high school after injuries sidelined Percy Ellsworth and Shaun Williams.

The 28-point margin of victory was the largest for the Giants under Jim Fassel, and the largest for the team since Oct. 27, 1996 when New York beat Detroit 35-7.

Click on the Team Giants logo to be informed of all Giants game previews and reviews.

Game 7 - Preview

Game 6 - Preview

Game 5 - Preview

Game 4 - Preview

Game 3 - Preview

Game 2 - Preview

Game 1 - Review

Game 1 - Preview


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