EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The New York Giants had so many sacks they actually felt bad for the kid trying to protect Donovan McNabb from Osi Umenyiora and a sack-happy defense.
Umenyiora had a team-record six sacks and the Giants (2-2) set a franchise record and tied a league record by sacking McNabb 12 times in a 16-3 victory that brought back memories of Lawrence Taylor intimidating opposing quarterbacks at will.
“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 (2-2) had only four sacks in three games. They had five against the Eagles (1-3) after the first half, and Umenyiora ended up having a career game against second-year left tackle Winston Justice, who was filling in for an injured William Thomas.
“It was like a video game out there,” Umenyiora said. “Winston Justice is a very good football player. Tonight was just one of those nights. He’ll learn from that experience.”
Mathias Kiwanuka added three sacks, Justin Tuck two and Michael Strahan one in an awesome display by a defense that was ranked as the worst in the league after giving up 80 points in its first two games.
Kawika Mitchell returned a fumble 17 yards for a touchdown and Eli Manning threw a 9-yard TD pass to Plaxico Burress, a score that, of course, was set up by a sack.
Lawrence Tynes added a 29-yard field goal in the third quarter, but he also missed a 34-yarder and an extra point.
Strahan’s sacks gave him 133½ in his career, breaking Taylor’s franchise record. Coincidentally, Taylor served as an honorary captain for the game.
Strahan was more concerned with 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.”
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.”
The Eagles (1-3) had a horrible effort in falling three games behind Dallas (4-0) in the NFC East.
“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.”
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, made a 53-yarder earlier in the fourth quarter to get Philadelphia on the board.
This is the fifth time a team had 12 sacks. The last was Dallas against the Houston Oilers on Sept. 29, 1985.
The game pitted new Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo against his old mentor Jim Johnson, the Eagles longtime defensive coordinator. Spagnuolo had been the Eagles linebacker coach for the past three years.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
While both defenses dominated, the Giants had an advantage going against an Eagles offense that was without Westbrook, its catalyst. The halfback who led the NFC in rushing after last week sat out with an abdominal strain.
The Eagles were limited to 212 yards and 3-of-11 on third down conversions.
Umenyiora’s second sack set up the Giants second-quarter touchdown. It forced the Eagles to punt from deep in their end and R.W. McQuarters returned the kick 11 yards to the Eagles’ 49.
Manning engineered a four-play drive, starting with passes of 19 and 17 yards to Amani Toomer. The score came as Burress outjumped Sheldon Brown in the corner of the endzone to give the Giants at 7-0 lead with 11:09 remaining in the half.
The Giants had a chance to extend the lead late in the second quarter but Omar Gaither intercepted a pass deep in Eagles territory.
Tynes’ field goal pushed the lead to 10-0 late in the third quarter. It capped a 55-yard drive aided by a 32-yard pass interference penalty against Amani Toomer by Eagles cornerback William James.
The fumble return by Mitchell iced the game less than a minute later.
McNabb took the handoff from his 22 following an illegal formation penalty and bumped with fullback Thomas Tapeh. The ball came loose. Correll Buckhalter could not recover it and Mitchell eventually picked it up and scored.
The Eagles challenged the play, but the call stood.
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