Giants feeling good after two straight wins

Updated: November 4, 2003, 8:19 PM ET
ESPN

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Having the best game of his four-year career has put New York Giants linebacker Brandon Short on the spot.

After getting 14 tackles, a sack, two forced fumbles, a recovery and a pass defended against the Jets in Sunday's 31-28 overtime win, Short has created the expectation for more big games.

For Short, it's almost like his days at Penn State.

"You have to put it behind you," Short said. "In this league, people have short-term memories. You have to play another good game next week. I have raised the bar and I want to play like that every week."

Before last weekend, Short probably was best remembered for making the tackle on Chad Pennington in August on which the Jets' quarterback broke his left wrist. It was a clean hit on a play that Pennington was flushed out of the pocket.

Take that away, and Short has been a strong side linebacker who averaged five or six tackles a game.

What changed dramatically on Sunday was Short's playing time. While he has been a starter the past two years, he hasn't been an every-down player. When the opposition uses three receivers or the Giants use extra defensive backs, Short comes out.

"They (the Jets) came out in a base package and that gave me the opportunity to be on the field," Short said.

Short had nine tackles in the first half. His biggest play came late in the first quarter with the Jets leading 7-0 and the Giants doing little on offense.

On a second-and-3, Jets halfback Curtis Martin took a handoff and scampered through right guard for 10 yards. Short tracked him down from behind, stripped the ball and recovered the fumble.

The turnover, one of four for the Giants, seemed to wake up the team.

"That was the start of a good day," said Short, who likened his performance to that of a basketball player who has a game in which he can't miss.

The performance, however, didn't surprise him.

"I already knew I could do it," Short said. "It's about time I went out and showed it."

Short has made a couple of changes this season. He dropped five pounds and increased his strength with more time in the weight room.

"I feel faster on the field, but I don't know if that's because of the weight I lost or I'm just older and more experienced and confident," he said.

While pleased, Giants coach Jim Fassel said it was unlikely Short's role would change dramatically.

"We match nickel people and honestly, (linebackers) Mike Barrow and Dhani Jones are ahead of him in the nickel package," Fassel said. "You can use him as a rusher and do some things like that, but we've talked about all that type of stuff. Guys who make plays, you want them on the field. But it is just not the matchup that you want."

Defensive end Michael Strahan hopes Short continues to contribute the way he did Sunday.

"Hopefully this gives him confidence and lets him know what he can accomplish when he makes his mind up and he decides to play at that level," Strahan said. "This gives him a bridge or something to judge himself by."

Short is looking for even better days.

"I hope my best game is 10 years from now," he said. "I hope to continue getting better every year, every week, and every day."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index