EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -Pro Bowl middle linebacker Antonio Pierce was only half kidding, saying the New York Giants could have had 20 sacks against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Osi Umenyiora set a team record with six sacks and the Giants tied an NFL record by taking down Donovan McNabb 12 times Sunday night in a 16-3 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Umenyiora came close on two other sack attempts and there were at least three other plays where McNabb barely got a pass away before being hit or knocked down again.
``Phenomenal,'' said seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Strahan, who got one sack to break Lawrence Taylor's franchise record. ``We couldn't have asked for a better performance. This was probably one of the best performances that I have ever been a part of defensively, especially against that team.''
A lot of things also aligned just right for the Giants (2-2) in beating the Eagles (1-3) for only the second time in nine games. Start with the Eagles - or who wasn't on hand for them.
Halfback Brian Westbrook, the catalyst of their offense, was out with an abdominal strain, and tight end L.J. Smith was sidelined with a groin injury. More importantly, left tackle William Thomas sat out with a knee injury.
Second-year pro Winston Justice started his first NFL game in place of Thomas and Umenyiora had a career day against him.
Complicating the problem, the Eagles inexplicably decided to not have either the tight end or a running back help Justice with his assignment.
``They probably should have given him a little bit more help,'' said linebacker Kawika Mitchell, who returned a fumble 17 yards in the third quarter to give New York a 16-0 lead. ``There were just a combination of things. Osi had a combination of moves that he was using and they were just working.''
Without Westbrook and Smith, McNabb also didn't have two of his favorite targets.
Also obvious is McNabb no longer is a major threat to scramble following knee surgery last season. Any time he tried to get away from Umenyiora, Strahan, Justin Tuck or Mathias Kiwanuka, they ran him down.
Kiwanuka finished with three sacks, Tuck and Strahan each had one.
Not bad for a defense that had four sacks in the first three games and was ranked No. 26 in the league. They are now No. 3 overall heading into Monday night's game.
``We were hungry tonight,'' Tuck said after the game. ``We saw those guys (the Eagles) against Detroit last week get nine sacks. We said, ``Hey, why not us?'' So we came out today hungry.''

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