Sunday, December 9, 2012
Giants' D responds to Rolle's challenge
By Kieran Darcy
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Antrel Rolle said he wanted to see a "dog mentality" from the Giants on Sunday.
His teammates heard him loud and clear.
The Giants finally got the better of Drew Brees and the Saints, winning 52-27 at MetLife Stadium. And afterward, several defensive players said Rolle's words earlier in the week made a big impact.
“I think we came out with a little more nasty," cornerback Corey Webster said.
Stevie Brown intercepted Drew Brees twice on Sunday.
"You definitely want to go out there and play hard after someone makes a comment like that," safety Stevie Brown said.
"It added a little extra motivation," linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka said. "One of our brothers was, not calling us out, but challenging us to step up."
New Orleans did rack up 487 yards of offense, and connected on several big plays. But the bigger plays were the four turnovers the Giants produced. And safeties were involved in each and every one of them.
Rolle himself recovered a Marques Colston fumble in the first quarter -- a fumble caused by fellow safety Will Hill. Rolle was also involved on the Jed Collins fumble later in that quarter.
Brown picked off Brees on the first play from scrimmage of the second half, a big momentum-changer. And Brown's second interception of the game, early in the fourth quarter, followed by a 70-yard return, set the Giants up for a field goal that essentially put the game out of reach.
Brown now has seven interceptions on the season -- second most in the NFL. And he set a new franchise record for interception return yards in a season with 259, besting the previous mark of 251 -- established by Hall of Famer Emlen Tunnell in 1949, and equaled by Pro Bowler Dick Lynch in 1963.
Not bad for a former seventh-round draft pick, who the Giants picked up off the scrap heap this past spring.
"He was in position again," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "The one he picked in the fourth quarter, boy was that timing right. They had flipped the momentum on us almost completely. We weren’t doing much about it at that time. But thank goodness he makes that play and we end up kicking a field goal."
Brees came in 4-0 in his career against the Giants, with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. The Saints embarrassed the Giants last season, winning 49-24 in New Orleans.
Kiwanuka was asked what the difference was this time around.
"[We] just played harder," the linebacker said.
Rolle deserves some credit for that. He thought the Giants had played too soft in recent weeks, and had been too complimentary of opposing players before games.
Naturally, people were eager to hear Rolle's assessment of the Giants' performance after the game.
"Oh yeah, I saw a lot of dog," Rolle said.
"No pit bulls [though]," he added. "I didn’t see any pit bulls today. We are saving that for the long haul."