Giants 44

(9-6, 5-3 away)

Colts 27

(9-6, 4-3 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, December 22, 2002


1 2 3 4 T
NYG 3 7 20 1444
IND 0 3 3 2127

Giants light up Colts' defense

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Jeremy Shockey got the New York Giants started Sunday. Kerry Collins and Amani Toomer finished off their most important win of the season.

Allen's Analysis
Eric Allen
Question on the Giants: Does this win mean that Fassel is back in 2003 regardless of what happens next week?
If the Giants are planning to make a change, I don't think anything short of a trip to the Super Bowl will alter that decision. I believe he's a good coach, and he's done as well as he can with the personnel he has. I think he should have the opportunity to return next year and build on what he's done this season.

Question on the Colts: Was this one of the most disappointing defensive efforts in the NFL this year?
The Colts didn't play with any intensity. The defense we saw in Philly and in recent weeks was AWOL. It has a lot to do with their inability to stop the run and their inability to run the ball. The Colts lacked an attitude today. They played like a finesse football team, and the Giants had their way with them.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

Toomer had a career-high 204 yards receiving and caught three second-half touchdowns from Collins, while Shockey caught seven passes for 116 yards and the Giants took a big step toward the playoffs with a 44-27 win at Indianapolis.

"We've showed glimpses of this all year,'' said Collins, who had a season-high 366 yards passing. "Look at our guys, these are guys who can play. The pieces are all there.''

Now the Giants (9-6) are putting the pieces in place to make a postseason run.

New York got exactly what it needed as it won for the third straight time -- big plays on offense, a stifling defense and a little help when the Cincinnati Bengals knocked off New Orleans 20-13.

For New York, the combination could not have been better. Three weeks ago, few gave the Giants any hope of reaching the playoffs. If they win Saturday at home against Philadelphia, they will be in.

"If it's not too late, I'll get a Christmas card off to them in the mail right now,'' coach Jim Fassel said of the Bengals, who are 2-13.

Had Indianapolis (9-6) won Sunday, it would have earned its third playoff berth in four years. The best the Colts can do now is hope for a wild-card spot when the Jaguars visit next week.

"We had a lot riding on the game, but we played a team that had a lot riding on it too,'' Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "In this kind of game, you have to play with intensity, and we didn't do that.''

The Colts were held to 50 yards on the ground. Two-time rushing champ Edgerrin James ran only 10 times for 13 yards.

The Colts revamped defense allowed a season-high 44 points, the most scored by the Giants since they had 45 against New Orleans in 1995.

Peyton Manning became the first quarterback in league history to pass for 4,000 yards in four consecutive seasons, breaking a tie with Dan Marino and Dan Fouts, and Marvin Harrison moved within one 100-yard game of tying Michael Irvin's single-season record of 11.

Manning was 30-of-46 for 365 yards with three touchdowns -- most of that coming with the Colts far behind. He threw two interceptions. Harrison had 10 catches for 128 yards, raising his record reception total to 137.

It wasn't nearly enough.

"We dug ourselves a hole, not only offensively but all the way around,'' Dungy said. "I don't know the answer.''

The Giants response was to break the mold.

Tiki Barber ran only 18 times for 60 yards although he did score on a 2-yard run late in the third quarter.

Collins was perfect with a passer rating for the game of 158.3, the highest possible.

He hit on 23-of-29 for and threw four touchdowns. Shockey was his favorite target early, and it was a 24-yard catch when he plowed over Colts safety David Gibson that gave the Giants a jump-start.

Amani Toomer, front, and Jeremy Shockey celebrate after Toomer scores one of his three touchdowns on Sunday.

"It got me going. It got the whole team going,'' Toomer said of Shockey's play.

In the second half, Collins and Toomer hooked up on touchdowns of 82, 21 and 27 yards.

His 204-yard total ranked in franchise history behind only Del Shofner, who had 269 yards against Washington 1962, and Gene Roberts, who had 212 in a 1949 game against Green Bay.

The Giants left little to chance.

After blocking a punt, intercepting Manning and taking an early 10-0 lead, they opened the second half with some trickery. Collins handed off to Barber, who ran right and tossed it back to Collins, who hit Toomer perfectly in stride for the 82-yarder and a 17-3 lead.

Four minutes later, Collins connected with Charles Stackhouse on an 18-yard touchdown, and Barber's run made it 30-3 before the quarter ended.

Manning rallied the Colts with two touchdowns in seven seconds, a 25-yarder to Harrison and a 40-yarder to Reggie Wayne after an onside kick recovery to make it 37-27, but Toomer's 27-yarder finished it off.

"It's going to come down to the final straws and we don't need to get sweaty palms,'' Fassel said. "We need to just get ready to go out and play another football game.''

Game notes

The Giants have scored 81 points the last two weeks, the most they've scored in back-to-back games since Sept. 29-Oct. 6, 1968. ... The Colts have not won a home game against the Giants since capturing their second straight NFL title on Dec. 27, 1959. Baltimore won 31-16 on that day. ... Smith's blocked punt was his first since his rookie season in 1999. He had two blocked that year. ... New York has outscored its opponents 60-9 in the in the first quarter this season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Scoring Summary

Drive info: 1 plays, 82 yds, 0:00
Drive info: 1 plays, 82 yds, 0:00
Drive info: 5 plays, 47 yds, 0:57
nygFG10:22Matt Bryant 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 23 yds, 2:08
indFG0:08Mike Vanderjagt 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 4 yds, 1:57
Drive info: 1 plays, 77 yds, 0:31
indTD13:41Touchdown(Peyton Manning pass to Marcus Pollard for 2pt conversion)
Drive info: 5 plays, 62 yds, 10:44
Drive info: 4 plays, 57 yds, 0:37
Drive info: 1 plays, 77 yds, 0:31
Drive info: 4 plays, 57 yds, 0:37
Drive info: 1 plays, 77 yds, 0:31
nygTD0:25Tiki Barber, 1 yd run
Drive info: 10 plays, 69 yds, 4:08
Drive info: 10 plays, 57 yds, 5:44
Drive info: 10 plays, 69 yds, 4:08
Drive info: 10 plays, 57 yds, 5:44
nygTD12:52Tiki Barber, 4 yd run
Drive info: 9 plays, 63 yds, 13:42
Drive info: 9 plays, 63 yds, 13:42
indFG5:40Mike Vanderjagt 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 14 plays, 48 yds, 3:54