Giants Set NFL Record With 9 First-Half Sacks
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and his assistants had a treat for their players after their spectacular 10-sack performance against the Chicago Bears.
Instead of showing them the team’s video of the game Monday, they borrowed some of the television broadcast from Sunday night’s 17-3 win so the players could hear the announcers gush about them.
More importantly, they made sure that the video showed their sack dances: the good, the bad and the humorous.
“It was fun, we saw some of the sacks dances and so forth,” linebacker Clint Sintim said. “Those guys really got out there. It was exciting to see the defense play as good as we know we can.”
The Giants had six sacks in their first three games, with four coming from defensive end/linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka.
With Kiwanuka sidelined with a bulging cervical disk, no one could have expected a double-digit total against the Bears.
The problem for Chicago was this was a perfect storm. Chicago offensive coordinator Mike Martz runs an offense that tends to send everyone out in the pass pattern and forces his line to stop the pass rush.
The Bears offensive line just couldn’t handle Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Chris Canty and Barry Cofield. The four combined for 8½ sacks with Tuck and Umenyiora getting three apiece, Cofield 1½ and Canty had one.
What was remarkable was that none of their sacks came on a play that the Giants blitzed. The only blitz sack was by cornerback Aaron Ross in the second quarter, and that might have been the blindside hit that caused starting quarterback Jay Cutler to miss the second half with a concussion.
New York also knocked out backup Todd Collins with a stinger in the fourth quarter. That hit by linebacker Michael Boley also came on a blitz.
The Giants’ nine first-half sacks were an NFL record. The 10 overall were two shy of the franchise and shared NFL record that New York matched in a game against Donovan McNabb and the Eagles in 2007.
“I’ve been part of a team that now has the record for the most sacks in a game and the most sacks in a half, so I don’t know if it’s a fluke,” Tuck said Monday. “Sometimes, things just work out your way. I just tell the guys that you have to be consistent.
“I’ve had games where we were un-blockable and we would have two or three sacks in the game,” he added. “Then, you have games like last night where everything is working together. Our secondary, our linebackers, and defensive line, everything was working together. I think that’s why we had so much success.”
The performance and the statistics showed that the defense may have Fewell’s new system down.
New York limited the Bears to 110 total yards and six first downs, the lowest totals by an opponent since Tampa Bay gained 86 yards and had five first downs in September 2009.
Chicago’s 59 yards rushing was the lowest total by an opponent since Dallas had 45 yards on Dec. 6.
The Bears did not have a successful third down conversion in 13 attempts, the first opponent that did not convert a third down since the Bucs’ game.
“We knew they were going to put a lot of guys out, it’s a run-and-gun offense. They look for the big play,” Sintim said. “We knew they would be vulnerable a little bit with the quarterback and our guys did a great job of pressuring the quarterback. I think Tuck had seven sacks and Osi had about 12. Those guys came out and got the work done and made it a lot easier for guys to cover.”
Giants Pro Bowl center Shaun O’Hara said the Bears lineman probably got to the point where they wanted to stop throwing the ball and simply run it.
“When you look at their offense, their offense is different,” O’Hara said. “It’s like back to the Rams when Kurt Warner was there. I heard him talking on the radio and their mentality is get everybody out and the quarterback has to find the open receiver. Don’t hold anyone in to block.”
That put the offensive linemen in a position where they had no help most of the game. It’s also was the same scenario that led Warner to get a couple of concussions with the Rams.
“Going against our D-linemen every day they are pretty good,” O’Hara said. “We lost Kiwanuka and these guys stepped in and overcame that, and that goes to show our depth. A lot of times, teams have one or two good pass rushers. It feels like we have six. If you rotate guys, you are never getting the same move twice.”
The double-digit sack total was the third in Giants’ history. In addition to the 12 against the Eagles three years ago, there was an 11-sack performance against the St. Louis Cardinals on Nov. 1, 1964, 18 years before sacks became an official statistic.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.