Thursday, August 28, 2008
Giants rest Manning, Brady sits out for Pats in preseason finale
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The so-called Super Bowl rematch between the Giants and Patriots went on Thursday night without its biggest stars -- Tom Brady and Eli Manning.
Brady not surprisingly missed his fourth straight preseason game with an injury to his right foot. The NFL MVP insisted earlier this week that he would be ready for the Patriots' season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs a week from Sunday.
Manning's absence was a surprise.
Coach Tom Coughlin had said the Super Bowl MVP would be out there for 10 plays in his final warmup for the NFL opener on Sept. 4 against the Washington Redskins at Giants Stadium.
However, the coach changed his mind before the game and sat Manning.
The decision came less than a week after the Giants lost two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora for the season to a knee injury against the Jets.
Matt Cassel started his fourth straight game for New England. David Carr replaced Manning.
Manning out-dueled a harried Brady in the Giants' 17-14 win in the Super Bowl.
Manning completed 19-of-34 for 255 yards and two touchdowns, including a game-winning 13-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds to play.
Brady, who had guided the Patriots to a perfect season until the title game, was 29-of-48 for 266 yards with five sacks. His 6-yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss with less than three minutes to play appeared to have capped New England's perfect season, but Manning and the Giants rallied to spoil it.
Coughlin also rested a number of starters. Burress and Amani Toomer, tight end Kevin Boss, offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie and defensive end Justin Tuck all got the night off.
Burress returned to practice this week after missing all of training camp with an injury to his right ankle.
Domenik Hixon and Steve Smith started at the receiver spots and Kevin Boothe replaced McKenzie.
Renaldo Wynn replaced Tuck at left end.
The Giants also were without middle linebacker Antonio Pierce (back), and strongside linebacker Danny Clark (groin).
Chase Blackburn started for Pierce and rookie Bryan Kehl took over for Clark.
The Patriots did not start linebacker Adalius Thomas, receiver Wes Welker and tight end Benjamin Watson.