|Kevin Boss’s 32-yard TD catch with 3:15 left put the Giants on top of the Jaguars, who led, 17-6, at halftime. (Al Bello/Getty Images)|
Giants spurred by ‘trash’ talk
Instead of discarding message, New York rises up, ends skid
With his team trailing by 11 points and the Giants’ season on the brink, coach Tom Coughlin wasn’t the only voice in the locker room at halftime.
The one that stood out was Justin Tuck, and his message was simple: Stop playing like garbage.
The Giants (7-4) got the message and maybe saved their season with five games to go.
Eli Manning threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Boss with 3:15 to play, and Tuck and his buddies sacked David Garrard on three straight plays in the closing minute and forced a turnover as New York rallied to beat Jacksonville, 24-20, yesterday in East Rutherford, N.J. The win snapped a two-game slide and ended the Jaguars’ three-game winning streak.
“I talked about how you allow somebody to come into your house and take over,’’ Tuck said after the Jaguars had taken a 17-6 halftime lead.
“I told them I was playing like garbage. I told them we were playing like garbage. In the second half, we’ve got to pick it up. I just tried to create a spark, and it worked.’’
The Giants held the Jaguars (6-5) to 3 points and 92 yards of offense, and forced two turnovers, with Antrel Rolle’s fumble recovery with 1:25 left icing the game.
“That was something that we needed,’’ Coughlin said. “We needed to rise up and have a finish like that. We’re all aware of the circumstances that we’re in, that the division is in, that the conference is in, and we needed to keep pace.’’
Jacksonville took a 20-17 advantage on a 42-yard field goal by Josh Scobee with 8:26 to play. The Giants finally grabbed the lead with a six-play, 69-yard drive that featured an 18-yard pass to Mario Manningham and an 18-yard run by Brandon Jacobs, who gained 87 yards on 14 carries in his return to the starting lineup.
Faced with third and 10 at the Jaguars’ 32, Manning (14 of 24, 226 yards) and Boss caught Jacksonville in a blitz.
“He saw it,’’ Manning said of his tight end. “He went up the field looking for the ball and I got it to him.’’
Boss caught the ball at the 25, shook off an attempted tackle by safety Courtney Greene, and romped into the end zone.
Jacksonville had one last chance and Garrard drove the Jaguars from their 27 to the Giants’ 29, where they got a first down on an illegal contact penalty against Aaron Ross with 1:51 to play.
Tuck and Rolle sacked Garrard for an 11-yard loss on first down. Dave Tollefson tackled Garrard for a loss of 5 on second down. Cornerback Terrell Thomas, who intercepted Garrard’s first pass of the second half to set up Lawrence Tynes’s third field goal, then sacked the quarterback and forced a fumble that Rolle recovered.
Texans 20, Titans 0 Arian Foster was the Texans’ leading rusher (30 carries, 143 yards) and receiver (nine catches, 75 yards), and host Houston (5-6) sent Tennessee (5-6) to its fourth straight loss in a game that featured a fistfight between two rivals.
Texans star receiver Andre Johnson and Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who showed hostility toward each other last season, engaged in an ugly brawl in the fourth quarter. Finnegan set it off by pushing up Johnson’s facemask at the line of scrimmage. Johnson ripped off Finnegan’s helmet and landed at least two punches to Finnegan’s head and neck. Finnegan tore off Johnson’s helmet before players and referees intervened.
The game was halted for more than five minutes as officials sorted out the chaos, and both players were ejected. Johnson received a standing ovation as security guards escorted him off the field. Finnegan taunted booing fans as he exited out the opposite tunnel. Expect further discipline from the league.
The fight and the drama surrounding banished Titans quarterback Vince Young — his replacement, rookie Rusty Smith, was intercepted three times — overshadowed a matchup of the two top rushers in the AFC, Foster and Chris Johnson. It was a mismatch: Foster set a Texans record with his sixth 100-yard game of the season, and Johnson had a career-low 5 yards on seven carries.
Dolphins 33, Raiders 17 Chad Henne made a triumphant return to Miami’s first-team offense, throwing for 307 yards and two scores as the Dolphins (6-5) won for the fifth time in six road games to keep their playoff hopes alive. Dan Carpenter added four field goals.
Henne lost his starting job earlier this month, but was reinserted against the Raiders (5-6) and led Miami to scores on its first two possessions. The Dolphins had 471 total yards.
Rookie Jacoby Ford was the entire Raiders offense, returning the opening kickoff 101 yards for a score and catching a 44-yard TD pass in the second quarter. The Dolphins held Oakland to 16 yards rushing.
Vikings 17, Redskins 13 Brett Favre was a combined 8 for 8 on two touchdown drives, and Minnesota ended a nine-game road losing streak that dated to last November. The Vikings (4-7) won in Leslie Frazier’s NFL head coaching debut, but lost Adrian Peterson early to a right ankle injury.
Favre went 3 for 3 on Minnesota’s opening possession, which ended with Peterson’s 5-yard scoring run. The 41-year-old quarterback was 5 for 5 on the first drive of the second half, capped by a 5-yard TD run from rookie Toby Gerhart, who took over after Peterson left in the second quarter. Favre finished 15 of 23 for 172 yards, and had just his second interception-free game this season.
The Redskins (5-6) came in with a host of injuries, and after a solid opening drive, they weren’t able to do much on offense. Donovan McNabb was 21 of 35 for 211 yards, one TD, and one interception, his career-worst 13th of the season.
Browns 24, Panthers 23 John Kasay’s 42-yard field goal attempt grazed the left upright as time expired, allowing Cleveland (4-7) to escape with the home win over Carolina and giving ex-Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme a little satisfaction.
Rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen drove the Panthers (1-10) to Cleveland’s 25, completing a sideline pass to Brandon LaFell with five seconds left. Then Kasay pushed his kick just wide to the left, an unfortunate ending for Carolina after it had rallied from a 21-7 halftime deficit.
Cleveland’s Peyton Hillis rushed for 131 yards and three TDs, and Delhomme passed for 245 yards in his first home start for the Browns. Delhomme threw a costly interception that Carolina’s Captain Munnerlyn returned 37 yards for a TD to pull the Panthers within 21-20, but he also went 5 for 5 on a fourth-quarter drive that resulted in Phil Dawson’s 41-yard field goal that put the Browns ahead, 24-23.
Ravens 17, Buccaneers 10 Joe Flacco threw two TD passes in a three-minute span in the second quarter, and Baltimore (8-3) tied a franchise record with its eighth consecutive home victory. Flacco completed 25 of 35 passes for 289 yards.
Josh Freeman threw a 5-yard TD pass to Kellen Winslow with 3:05 left to make it 17-10, but Tampa Bay (7-4) didn’t get the ball back.
Rams 36, Broncos 33 Rookie Sam Bradford had a career-high 308 yards passing and three TD tosses, helping St. Louis (5-6) pull into a tie for first in the NFC West with Seattle.
Trailing, 33-13, in the fourth quarter, Denver (3-8) made a spirited comeback at home behind Kyle Orton, who threw for 347 yards and three scores.
Chiefs 42, Seahawks 24 Matt Cassel threw three TD passes to Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles rushed for 173 yards, and Kansas City (7-4) remained on top of the AFC West by routing host Seattle (5-6).