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However, those numbers won’t ease the pain of a 23-0 loss at home to Seattle with the Giants’ already out of the playoffs.
The catalysts for the improved rush have been defensive end Justin Tuck and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, two proven veterans on the defensive line. Naturally, they combined on the first takedown of quarterback Russell Wilson on Seattle’s first possession of the second quarter.
Just as fitting, that drive began after Eli Manning’ first of five interceptions, and so went a frustrating day for the Giants on both sides of the ball.
“You focus on yourself first and then your group and you try to get that going,” Jenkins said after the game. “We’ve got enough veteran guys on this team who have had success.”
Jenkins’ half-sack sack gave him 3.5 in the last four games, and he added two QB hits and a tackle for a loss. Meanwhile, Tuck notched at least part of a sack for the fourth straight game, adding up to 7.5 in that stretch and extending his team-high mark to 9.0.
But Jenkins, Tuck, and rest of their line mates are quicker to point out the run defense against premier running backs.
“You pick your poison with him,” Tuck said of Wilson. “Obviously he’s a great athlete and he’s very quick. He’s patented that little pump fake. He makes it tough out there, and you don’t know. He really gets you in between your rushes. If he’s rushing, you’ve got to be more under him, step up in the pocket and prolong the plays. If you sit back there and try to kind of mirror him, it gives him more time and allows more wide receivers to get open. He did a pretty good job there today.”