Commentary

Big Blue building rep as QB nightmare

The Giants' defense doesn't aim to maim but KOs help its cause in reign of terror

Updated: October 27, 2010, 1:23 AM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

Justin Tuck calls it "pure luck."

However, for quarterbacks who dare stand against the Giants' pass rush, the more appropriate word is "unfortunate."

The New York Giants enter their bye this week and it could not come at a better time for opposing signal-callers. The Giants have knocked out as many quarterbacks as they have wins this season as Tony Romo became the fifth quarterback to leave a game for good against the Giants. Perry Fewell's unit has literally been lights-out this season as KOs should be added as an official statistic to go along with sacks, strips and turnovers.

The Giants are hazardous to a quarterback's health and Romo found that out the hard way when he broke his left clavicle on a clean hit from linebacker Michael Boley during the second quarter of the Giants' 41-35 win over the Cowboys on Monday night.

Romo
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireMichael Boley and the Giants crushed Cowboys QB Tony Romo on Monday night, knocking him flat with a broken collarbone.

"When I found out we had knocked out five quarterbacks, it was kind of shocking to me," defensive end Osi Umenyiora said after the Giants' win. "When you get pressure on the quarterback, they are a little fragile sometimes. Boley absolutely obliterated Romo. Hopefully we keep getting legal hits on the quarterback and if they get hurt, I'll be sorry, but there is nothing we can do about that."

The fact that the Giants are knocking out quarterbacks with legal hits is why Tuck calls it "pure luck." But the Giants' luck has been awful misfortune for opposing teams. The Cowboys (1-5) are facing the devastating prospect of playing without their franchise quarterback for potentially the next six weeks at least.

The Giants started their QB body count when they gave Carolina's Matt Moore a concussion in the season opener.

In Week 4 against the Bears, the Giants sacked Jay Cutler nine times before giving him a concussion just before halftime. Cutler's replacement, Todd Collins, didn't last the second half before having to leave the game injured as well.

Two weeks later, the Giants ended Shaun Hill's day early when the Lions quarterback had to leave with a broken left forearm. The Giants almost knocked out backup Drew Stanton late in that game, too.

Then came their biggest KO of the season with Romo, who fell on his left shoulder after fullback Chris Gronkowski failed to pick up Boley on a blitz early in the second quarter. Boley looked like Mike Tyson as he left Romo completely flattened on the turf. Without Romo, the Cowboys were outscored 31-10 until a late rally by Jon Kitna made the game close.

The one common link between all the quarterback injuries is that the Giants won all those games. The only game they won without injuring a quarterback was their 34-10 victory in Houston.

"Most people in this league have quality backups [but] let's face it, the starting quarterback is the starting quarterback for a reason," head coach Tom Coughlin said.

The Giants certainly do not aim to maim quarterbacks. But when done legally, it obviously helps the cause.

Just seeing how the Cowboys' lives changed dramatically without Romo was enough to make Tuck appreciate how important it is to keep Eli Manning healthy this season. With one devastating hit, the Giants likely altered their season as well as Dallas'. The Romo injury pretty much solidified the NFC East as a three-team race between the Giants, Eagles and Redskins.

"That is the head of the snake," Tuck said. "When you take the head out, it makes a lot of trouble. I have never seen a team be very successful without good quarterback play. We are very happy to keep Eli's backside clean and hopefully we can continue to do that."

The Giants are ranked second in the NFL in total defense and Fewell's unit is second in sacks -- 24 behind co-leaders Tennessee and San Diego.

But the Giants are easily the scariest defense for quarterbacks to face right now. Next up is Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck, who might want to hire some added protection when the Giants visit on Nov. 7.

They don't want to hurt anyone intentionally. But they also don't mind their growing reputation for terrorizing quarterbacks.

"They know now," Boley said of opposing offenses being wary of the Giants' growing list of KOs. "If they don't know, they will know."

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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