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Rookie Ross has two interceptions, one for TD, in win

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Aaron Ross started the game on the
sideline, benched for a half by the New York Giants for violating
team rules.

Allowed on the field in the second half, the rookie cornerback
came up with two of the game's most important plays.

Ross returned the second of his two interceptions 43 yards for a
touchdown with just over 3 minutes remaining to seal a 35-24
victory over the Jets on Sunday in the latest battle of New York.

"I think the reason I was drafted here was to make big plays,
and I have to hold up my end of the bargain," the first-round pick
out of Texas said.

Neither Ross nor coach Tom Coughlin would reveal the nature of
the indiscretion, but the cornerback was in the game when it
mattered most.

"It was just a mistake on my behalf, and something I have to
learn from," Ross said. "It's between the coach and me. Rest
assured, it'll never happen again."

With the Jets driving for a potential go-ahead score, Chad
Pennington threw a pass to Jerricho Cotchery. Ross stepped in front
of it and took off down the left sideline and into the end zone
with the partisan Giants fans on their feet screaming.

The touchdown gave the Giants (3-2) an 11-point lead with 3:15
left and helped them beat the Jets (1-4) for the seventh time in 11
meetings.

"There's no magic formula," a downtrodden Pennington said.
"We just fell apart right there at the end."

A week after getting 12 sacks against Philadelphia, the Giants
only had one -- by Osi Umenyiora with less than 3 minutes left -- but
intercepted Pennington three times.

"It's frustrating," said Pennington, who had good protection
by the offensive line all game. "And believe me, it makes you sick
to your stomach."

Pennington finished 21-of-36 for 229 yards and a touchdown to
Brad Smith, but the three interceptions sunk the Jets.

Eli Manning recovered from a miserable opening half to finish
13-of-25 for 186 yards with touchdown passes to Plaxico Burress and
Jeremy Shockey and one interception. Brandon Jacobs had 100 yards
and a touchdown on 20 carries in his first game since spraining a
knee in the season opener.

"I take full responsibility for the first half," Coughlin
said. "We made a lot of mistakes, but we came back and we still
felt like we could win the game. Our second half was outstanding.
We didn't get some continuity in the first half."

After Ross' first pick, the Giants drove 98 yards and took their
first lead, 28-24, on Burress' 53-yard touchdown reception with
7:52 left. Two plays after David Harris was called for a personal
foul after horsecollaring Derrick Ward, Burress caught a pass,
stiffarmed cornerback Andre Dyson, high-stepped out of a tackle and
scored.

The Giants got within 24-21 with an efficient drive that was
capped by a 13-yard touchdown catch by Shockey with 33 seconds left
in the third quarter. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma was called offside
on a third-and-4 play, to keep the drive alive.

"There's only so many more times that we can say, 'Well, we
have time,'" Vilma said. "We have to start really getting after
it and figure out what's going on."

The Jets took a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter when
Kerry Rhodes ripped the football out of Jacobs' left arm and
returned the fumble 11 yards for a touchdown.

The Giants tied it on Ward's 8-yard run up the middle 4:06 into
the second quarter, but the Jets went ahead 14-7 just before the
half on Smith's first NFL touchdown, a 16-yard catch over Kevin
Dockery in the right corner of the end zone.

Manning went 3-of-10 for 22 yards, 20 on a pass to Shockey, and
the interception in the opening half.

"We knew we could turn around and get things going," Manning
said. "We just had to calm down. We had to stay confident and
realize there were plays out there to be made, and we had to make
them."

The Giants came out inspired for the second half, making it
17-14 on a 19-yard rumble by Jacobs.

Washington then erased any momentum the Giants might have gotten
by taking the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, his second
this season.

Washington took the ball from the 2, scooted up the middle, shed
a few tackle attempts, the last by the kicker Lawrence Tynes, and
scooted into the end zone to make it 24-14.

"A return like that you try to get momentum and put it back on
your side," Washington said. "We did it for a quick second and we
lost it."

Game notes
Sam Madison also had an interception for the Giants. ...
Thomas Jones had just 36 yards on 13 carries for the Jets. ... The
Jets last beat the Giants in the regular season in 1993, when they
won 10-6. ... The Jets' last 1-4 start was 2003, when they finished
6-10.