Giants ride defense to 2-0 start
By R.B. Fallstrom
AP SPORTS WRITER
A 97-yard drive put the New York offense in gear. Another stifling effort from a big-play defense led by Justin Tuck made much of the scoring window dressing in the Giants' 12th straight away victory, including their Super Bowl victory last February.
Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes and the Giants sacked Marc Bulger six times while limiting the St. Louis Rams to a fluke touchdown in a 41-13 victory on Sunday. The Rams (0-2) came up with another dud in their home opener, which also served as a tribute to late owner Georgia Frontiere.
The Giants have not lost a road game since their opener last season.
Tuck's 41-yard interception return in the fourth quarter sealed the victory, and he added a pair of sacks. Fred Robbins also had two sacks for the Giants, who got to the quarterback only once in their opening 16-7 victory over the Redskins.
The Rams' 3-13 season in 2007 left fans bailing out; the last two home games, against the Packers and Steelers, had nearly as many visiting fans. The Rams briefly won back a restless fan base that had begun to boo when Torry Holt scored on a 45-yard pass while flat on his back on a ball twice deflected by safety Kenny Phillips.
The Giants (2-0) immediately answered with an 82-drive capped when Ahmad Bradshaw was untouched on a 16-yard swing pass that made it 27-13 with 7:18 to go. Tuck's return came after he deflected Bulger's pass, and Bradshaw added a 31-yard run to cap a 21-point fourth quarter.
Amani Toomer's 10-yard grab was a big play when the game was tight, capping the 97-yard march midway through the third quarter that put the Giants ahead 20-6. That score came one play after coach Tom Coughlin successfully challenged a fumble ruling after Plaxico Burriss' 16-yard catch.
Manning was 20-for-29 for 260 yards, also hitting Burriss on a 33-yard strike in the first quarter, Brandon Jacobs had 93 yards on 15 carries and 44-year-old kicker John Carney added field goals of 39 and 33 yards in the first half.
The Rams retooled their offense under new coordinator Al Saunders, but have only one touchdown in two games. Bulger was 20-for-32 for 177 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and Steven Jackson had 53 yards on 13 carries.
The bright spots were the St. Louis specialists. Josh Brown kicked a pair of 54-yard field goals, matching the longest by the franchise since 2001, and punter Donnie Jones averaged 57.6 yards on five efforts.
There were thousands of no-shows in an announced sellout crowd of 61,377, the crowd probably held down by a storm that was the remnants of Hurricane Ike, with torrential rain, winds spiking up to 60 mph and interstate lane closures a few hours before game-time.
Carney, signed on cutdown day to fill in while Lawrence Tynes recovers from a knee injury, is 5-for-5 thus far.