Forty six years after Robustelli's last game, the latest edition of the Giants' defensive front carried on that grand tradition in 2010.
The line was stingy against the run and strong vs. the pass throughout the Giants' 10-6 season and spearheaded a defense that finished seventh in the NFL, allowing an average of 310.8 yards per game. In addition, the line was a major force behind the Giants leading the NFL with 39 takeaways.
The line accounted for 39.5 of the Giants' 46 sacks, their highest total since the 2007 Super Bowl champions led the NFL with 53. The Giants finished eighth in the league against the run, giving up 101.3 yards a game. They held their opponents to fewer than 100 rushing yards in nine of 16 games. The Giants were 9-0 in those games.
Defensive ends Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck (who played in his second Pro Bowl) were tied for fourth in the NFC and seventh in the NFL – and the team lead – with 11.5 sacks each, the first time the Giants had two players with at least that many sacks since 2005, when Umenyiora had 14.5 and Michael Strahan finished with 11.5.
It was the seventh year in a row Umenyiora or Tuck either owned or shared the team lead in sacks. It was the sixth time in seven seasons Umenyiora has claimed the sack title. The only season since 2004 he was not atop the team's sack rankings was 2008, when he missed the entire year after undergoing knee surgery. Tuck was the team leader that season.
Umenyiora and Tuck each had three sacks on Oct. 3, when the Giants totaled 10 in a 17-3 victory over Chicago. It was Umenyiora's highest total in one game since he set a team record with six sacks against the Eagles when the team had 12 on Sept. 30, 2007. Tuck set a career high with his three sacks. He had recorded two sacks on six occasions – five in the regular season and Super Bowl XLII.
Umenyiora led the Giants and tied an NFL record with 10 forced fumbles, tying Jason Taylor's record set in 2006 with Miami. The stat has been kept since 1994.
When Umenyiora jarred the ball loose, Tuck often scooped it up or fell on it. Tuck was first in the league with five recoveries of opponent fumbles. The Giants recovered 23 opponents fumbles last season, the highest total in the NFL since Baltimore in 2000 (26). The 23 recoveries of opponents fumbles tied for the third-highest total in franchise history.
Umenyiora was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for October. In four games that month – all Giants victories – Umenyiora had 18 tackles (10 solo), including 7.0 sacks and six forced fumbles. Umenyiora had three consecutive multiple-sack games in October: 3.0 sacks vs. Chicago, 2.0 at Houston and 2.0 vs. Detroit. Prior to that stretch, the two-time Pro Bowler had never had multiple sacks in back-to-back games. He also forced two fumbles in each of those three games.
Umenyiora was the first Giant to win a Player of the Month award since November 2008, when Eli Manning was honored as the NFC Offensive Player of the Month. He was the first Giants defender to receive the award since Michael Strahan in October 2001.
Umenyiora has 60.0 career sacks, which places him fifth on the Giants' career list (since 1982, when sacks became an official statistic). He is 3.0 sacks behind No. 4 Keith Hamilton. Tuck is seventh on the list with 40.5 career sacks.
Umenyiora led the Giants with 30 quarterback hits. Tuck was second with 27.
Tuck finished with 99 tackles, including a team-high 21 for losses.
Tuck and Umenyiora got plenty of help from their fellow linemen.
Defensive tackle Barry Cofield had 68 tackles (36 solo, six for losses) and a career-high 4.0 sacks.
First-round draft choice Jason Pierre-Paul finished the season with 4.5 sacks, the most by a Giants rookie since Cornelius Griffin had 5.0 in 2000. Pierre-Paul had two sacks vs. Jacksonville on Nov. 28 and two against Washington the following week to become the first rookie in Giants history with at least two sacks in consecutive games.
Mathias Kiwanuka had a team-high 4.0 sacks in the first three games of the season before a neck injury forced him to go on injured reserve.