Final

Saints 30

(10-5, 6-2 away)

Giants 7

(7-8, 3-5 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, December 24, 2006

Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ 

1 2 3 4 T
NO 3 10 7 1030
NYG 7 0 0 07

Top Performers

Passing: D. Brees (NO) - 132 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: R. Bush (NO) - 20 CAR, 126 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: P. Burress (NYG) - 1 REC, 55 YDS, 1 TD

Giants fail to take snap in Saints territory in defeat

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (ESPN.com news services) -- If you want to know how quickly things change in the NFL, take a look at the New Orleans Saints and the New York Giants.

A year after enduring a "homeless season" in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the reborn Saints are a game away from a first-round playoff bye after beating the Giants 30-7 on Sunday.

Elias Says
N.Y. Giants
The Giants didn't run a single play from Saints territory. Over the last 15 seasons, there were only two other such games -- both in Dec. 2000: the Browns in a 48-0 loss to the Jags, and the Bears in a 17-0 loss to the 49ers.

• For more Elias Says, Click here.

In that same period, Tom Coughlin may go from the man who led the Giants to the NFC East title to the unemployment line.

"That would be a tremendous accomplishment considering everything that happened last year with these guys, what they went through," Saints quarterback Drew Brees said of the potential bye a year after New Orleans posted a 3-13 record.

"With all the new turnover, a new coach, new assistants, a lot of new faces, including myself; when you have a good group of people and you come together for one kind of purpose it's amazing what you can accomplish."

The Saints (10-5) got contributions from everyone in handing the Giants (7-8) their sixth loss in seven games.

Rookie sensation Reggie Bush ran for a career-best 126 yards and a touchdown, Deuce McAllister had 108 yards rushing and a TD and the defense limited New York to six first downs and 142 yards in a rout that turned Giants Stadium into a ghost town in the fourth quarter.

The Saints can clinch the No. 2 seed in the NFC if Dallas loses either of its final two games (Philadelphia on Monday and Detroit next weekend) or New Orleans wins at home against Carolina.

"It would be huge getting a bye," said receiver Marques Colston, who caught a go-ahead 2-yard touchdown pass late in the first half on one of three successful fourth-down gambles by Payton. "We have a couple of guys who are hurting and it would give us a week to rest. We could use it."

Unbelievably, the Giants (7-8), who did not have a snap in Saints' territory all game, remain in the playoff hunt.

Atlanta, which was beaten by Carolina 10-3, the Panthers, Green Bay, and St. Louis also have the same mark heading into the final week of the season in the race for the now-tainted second wild-card berth in the NFC.

"I feel badly for all Giants fans to come here on Christmas Eve and then for us to lose the game the way we lost it," Coughlin said. "It's embarrassing."

The sellout crowd let Coughlin know it was upset, twice chanting "Fire Coughlin" before heading for the exits.

The Giants wrap up the regular season at Washington on Saturday night.

"I didn't expect them to cheer us," Giants center Shaun O'Hara said. "It's Christmas and everyone wants to be merry. They are obviously upset with us and they have a right to be."

Brees' touchdown pass to Colston gave New Orleans a 13-7 halftime lead. Bush added a little insurance with a 1-yard TD run on an end around in the third quarter and McAllister scored on a 9-yard run early in the fourth quarter, emptying the stadium.

John Carney kicked field goals of 32, 26 and 38 yards.

Plaxico Burress caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning on the opening series. Retiring halfback Tiki Barber gained 71 yards on 16 carries in his final home game.

Bush, whose previous best rushing effort was 67 yards in the season opener, was the star of this game. He had 10 touches for 70 yards on the Saints go-ahead, 18-play, 89-yard drive late in the first half. The former Southern California back also had a punt return for a touchdown reversed.

The only thing he did wrong was bolt out of the locker room after the game without talking to the media.

Brees, who came into the day with more than 4,000 yards passing and 25 TDs, finished 13-of-32 for 132 yards on a day his receivers dropped at least eight passes.

Manning hit his first six passes, including the 55-yard score to Burress. Saints cornerback Fred Thomas slipped and fell on the play.

"Today was awful," said Manning, who hit 3-of-his final 19 passes, finishing with 74 yards. "We never had anything quite like this. We've had some tough games and games where we didn't finish well, but today, we didn't do anything."

Even the return of seven-time Pro Bowl defensive Michael Strahan didn't help. He played for the first time since spraining a foot on Nov. 5, but left the game in the third quarter after aggravating the injury.

Strahan is expected to have a CT scan on the foot Christmas Day to determine the extent of the injury.

Leading 7-0, the tide seemed to turn when Giants returner Chad Morton muffed a punt early in the first quarter, setting up Carney's first field goal.

The Saints dominated the rest of the first half, led by Bush, a staunch defense and some gutsy calls by Payton. The former Giants offensive coordinator called a couple of key time outs late in the first quarter to keep New York moving into a stiff breeze. It set up Carney's second kick.

Game notes


Saints WR Joe Horn missed his third straight game with a groin injury and SS Omar Stoutmire missed second straight game with an injured knee. ... The Giants introduced only one player before the game -- Barber. ... Morton tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee covering a punt in the second quarter.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NO
NYG
1st Downs226
Passing 1st downs
72
Rushing 1st downs
144
1st downs from penalties
10
3rd down efficiency
5-200-10
4th down efficiency
4-60-1
Total Plays8645
Total Yards359142
Yards per play4.23.2
Total Drives1415
Passing12359
Comp-Att
13-329-25
Yards per pass
3.72.2
Interceptions thrown
01
Sacks-Yards Lost
1-92-15
Rushing23683
Rushing Attempts
5318
Yards per rush
4.54.6
Red Zone (Made-Att)3-50-0
Penalties2-157-67
Turnovers03
Fumbles lost
02
Interceptions thrown
01
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession40:3419:26

Passing Leaders

NOC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brees13/321324.1101-9
NYGC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Manning9/25743.0112-15

Rushing Leaders

NOCARYDSAVGTDLG
Bush201266.3118
McAllister271084.0114
NYGCARYDSAVGTDLG
Barber16714.4011
Finn11212.0012

Receiving Leaders

NORECYDSAVGTDLG
Copper24623.0040
Colston4379.3123
NYGRECYDSAVGTDLG
Burress15555.0155
Barber3124.006

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNONYG
nygTD13:00Plaxico Burress, 55 yd pass from Eli Manning (Jay Feely kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 67 yds, 2:17
07
noFG9:27John Carney 32 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 4 yds, 1:25
37
SECOND QUARTERNONYG
noFG13:05John Carney 26 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 55 yds, 3:27
67
THIRD QUARTERNONYG
noTD1:56Marques Colston, 2 yd pass from Drew Brees (John Carney kick is good)
Drive info: 18 plays, 89 yds, 8:39
137
THIRD QUARTERNONYG
noTD8:05Reggie Bush, 1 yd run (John Carney kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 51 yds, 2:19
207
FOURTH QUARTERNONYG
noTD14:17Deuce McAllister, 9 yd run (John Carney kick is good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 62 yds, 5:22
277
noFG11:57John Carney 38 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 4 yds, 1:34
307