Strahan returned to action later in the game and immediately received an
apology from Slaughter.
“He was apologizing the second I got off the ground so I don’t think it was
anything malicious,” Strahan said.
After the game, defensive coordinator Tim Lewis playfully joked with Strahan,
who looked like he had just gone 12 rounds with Mike Tyson, saying, “Rocky
Balboa, good job.”
Strahan, still sporting a pretty impressive mouse after game, admitted he was
very scared at the time.
“It was dangerous because it was by the head,” Strahan said. “You can end
someone’s career by poking them in the eye.”
Strahan recalled how former Giants center Brian Williams was inadvertently
poked in the eye by Bernard Holsey during training camp years ago and never
“That ended his career,” Strahan said.
Fitting tribute: Several Giants from head coach Tom Coughlin on down
mentioned the divisional title as a tribute to the organization’s two recently
deceased owners, Wellington Mara and Bob Tisch.
“We are the NFC East champs,” said Coughlin, proudly wearing a white NFC East
champion hat. “We honor them with this divisional title.”
After the game, John Mara said the title was “bittersweet.”
“I would have rather had my father standing there in the doorway,” Mara said.
“He would have enjoyed this.”
Unfinished business: While the Giants were ecstatic to capture the NFC East
title, to a man they all pointed to a lengthy postseason run as their true goal.
That quest kicks off Sunday when they host the Carolina Panthers at 1 p.m.
“We’ve got more work to do,” Coughlin said.
“This is a whole new season,” Manning said. “This is where it all counts.”
“Now the second season starts,” John Mara said. “Hopefully it will last all
the way through January.”
The Giants enter the playoffs brimming with confidence.
“We feel we can beat anybody,” Osi Umenyiora said.
“We know we can beat anybody on any given Sunday,” Barber added.
For Strahan, he and his club took the division title in stride.
“It was a low-key celebration because we’re just starting,” Strahan said.
“We’re not finished yet. We have four more games to reach what we want to
Manning said he was just pleased that Big Blue would be playing in the
friendly confines of Giants Stadium, where they are 8-1 this season.
“We’ve been good at home,” he said. “Hopefully we can use that to our
Scoring machine: The Giants finished the season with 422 points, the
second-highest total in team history. It is only the second time in 81 seasons
the Giants scored more than 400 points. The team record of 488 points was set in
The Giants scored 45 touchdowns, their highest total since the 1985 team
Kicker Jay Feely nailed three field goals and three extra points to increase
his Giants-record total to 148 points. That is a career high for Feely, whose
previous best was 138 points with Atlanta in 2002.
Throwin’ the flag: The Giants committed nine penalties for 70 yards and
finished the season with franchise-record totals of 143 penalties and 1,115
Postseason party: The Giants’ playoff berth is the franchise’s 27th, which
ties Dallas and the Cleveland/Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams for the most in NFL
Coughlin has now led his team to the playoffs in five of his 10 seasons as an
NFL head coach. He is 4-4 in the playoffs.
Good omen? The Giants finished their regular season with games at Washington
and Oakland. The last time their last two games were on the road was 1990, when
they won at Phoenix and New England. That team went on to win Super Bowl XXV.
Rookie’s big chance: Second-round pick Corey Webster was finally inserted
into the lineup at right cornerback in place of Curtis Deloatch, who’s had a
rough go of late. Webster had a pretty long evening, including being beaten by
Randy Moss for a 15-yard TD in the first quarter. He finished with four tackles
and a pass breakup.
Shockey out: The Giants were forced to play their season finale without
Jeremy Shockey, who was out with an ankle injury. Visanthe Shiancoe started in
his place, and jumped offsides early in the game and again in the fourth
quarter. He later dropped an easy pass. However, Shank wasn’t a total detriment;
he caught a 16-yard pass late in the first quarter.
After the game Coughlin expressed optimism that his Pro Bowl tight end would
be ready for the playoffs. “We’re very hopeful that he’ll be back,” he said.
Super K-Lew: On the street earlier in the week, former and current Giants
middle linebacker Kevin Lewis stepped in and showed himself well. He finished
with four tackles – and a couple big sticks – while manning the middle of New
“He’s to be congratulated,” Coughlin said. “He played very well.”
Ailing Robbins: DT Fred Robbins, who was in the lineup for the injured
William Joseph, left the contest in the first half with a hamstring injury and
never returned. He was replaced by Kenderick Allen, who finished with three
LBs at a premium: As expected, New York started the game with only Nick Greisen among its usual starting linebackers, with Antonio Pierce (high ankle
sprain), Reggie Torbor (hamstring) on the inactive list and Carlos Emmons (pec)
on Injured Reserve. As a result, Greisen started at WLB and ended up with a
game-high eight solo tackles, newly-signed Kevin Lewis manned the middle (four
stops) and Alonzo Jackson played on the strong side (four tackles).
The rest of New York’s inactives were: CB Frank Walker, OL Lewis Kelly, WR
Tim Carter and DT William Joseph. Jared Lorenzen was the club’s third
Lookin’ ahead: Because they finished in first place, the Giants will play the
following opponents in 2006:
Home: Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Chicago,
Houston and Indianapolis.
Away: Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington, Atlanta, Carolina, Seattle,
Jacksonville and Tennessee.