Giants of present get lift from past

Taylor, others provide N.Y. inspiration

Fassel: still `unfinished business'

NFC notebook

Ravens Notebook

January 15, 2001|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The New York Giants of today received an emotional boost from the Giants of yesteryear during Saturday's walk-through and yesterday's pre-game ceremonies.

Former Pro Bowl players such as linebackers Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson, defensive tackle Jim Burt and center Bart Oates attended practice. Taylor, a member of the Giants' 1986 and '90 Super Bowl champions, spoke.

Taylor reminded the team that the Giants had not gone into an NFC championship game as favorites, yet won both times.

"When we played Washington back in '86, they said we couldn't beat the Washington Redskins three times in a row. We did. We got it done. We found a way," Taylor said. "Against San Francisco in 1990, we went to their home territory. They were ready to go to Tampa. They had already sent all their stuff down there, and they were ready to move in. Well, they had to pack their [stuff] up and send it back home," Taylor said.

Running back Tiki Barber, who played yesterday with a broken arm, called the talk "inspiring." Defensive end Michael Strahan called it "phenomenal."

The former players stood on the sideline yesterday as the Giants pancaked the favored Minnesota Vikings, 41-0.

"They have won Super Bowls. You see a guy like LT next to you ... you can't help but go out there and lay it on the line," Giants linebacker Jesse Armstead said.

Fassel on the Ravens

Giants coach Jim Fassel wasted no time congratulating the Ravens as his Super Bowl foe.

"Brian Billick is as good a friend as I have in this league," Fassel said. "He and his team have done an outstanding job this year."

Added Fassel, who guaranteed his team would reach the playoffs long before Billick guaranteed that the winner of the Ravens-Titans AFC divisional game would win the Super Bowl: "I feel good about my team because I got the sense after today's game that you feel like that they have unfinished business."

Carter's finale?

Vikings receiver Cris Carter may have played the final game of a Hall of Fame career yesterday. Carter had little to say about his status after making several cryptic comments last week, but did allow: "I don't know how much left I have to give."

Carter said last week that he had a discussion with his wife and coach Dennis Green, but went no further to avoid creating a distraction during preparation for the Giants.

"I can't put into words what he means to this team and this offense," quarterback Daunte Culpepper said. "And just him as a person, he is huge. He definitely has my vote to come back."

Short on results

The Vikings found themselves unable to throw deep against the NFL's tallest secondary, a sensation they've rarely experienced when deploying Randy Moss.

After averaging 239 yards passing this season, the Vikings were limited to 60 yards yesterday.

Carter burned the Giants for 131 yards on five receptions in 1999, but that was with star cornerback Jason Sehorn sidelined by injury. Yesterday, Carter managed only three second-half receptions for 24 yards. Moss caught two balls for only 18 yards, with Sehorn usually covering him one-on-one.

Said Giants cornerback Dave Thomas, "They have so much confidence in their wide receivers. They can just throw it up and say, `OK, the [defensive back] is about 5-8; we have a Randy Moss who can jump up and catch it.' That was a mistake because we have guys in our secondary that average 6-3."

Statistically speaking

The 41-point spread was the second largest for the Giants in a postseason game. They punished the San Francisco 49ers, 49-3, in a 1986 divisional game. The Giants consumed 42:22, the third-highest time of possession in a non-overtime playoff game. They fell only 21 seconds shy of the Washington Redskins' record set on Jan. 2, 1993, against the Vikings.

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