EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** Justin Tuck played every one of the Giants' 68 defensive snaps in the Giants' victory last night in Washington, something he said hadn't happened since 2008.
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View Gameday Photo Gallery But the heavy workload seemed to suit him. Tuck, who had just 2.5 sacks in the first 11 games, had 4.0 against the Redskins, all in the second half, including three in the fourth quarter. His harassment of Robert Griffin III was a key factor in the Giants overcoming a 14-point deficit to win, 24-17.
Right end Mathias Kiwanuka also played every snap. He and Tuck didn't leave the field in part because Jason Pierre-Paul was inactive with a shoulder injury. Rookie Damontre Moore picked up some of the slack, but when he entered the game in pass rush situations, Tuck moved inside to tackle.
"The good and negative thing about the New York Giants is that we keep many high quality defensive ends around, so it's hard to play every snap," Tuck said. "It was fun last night being out there the whole time, because it allows you to get into a rhythm and I think I kind of benefitted from it in some regards. My body isn't telling me that right now, but it was fun last night."
Tuck said he was sore, but added, "it's nothing I can't deal with."
Coach Tom Coughlin said today he doesn't know if Pierre-Paul will be able to play Sunday in San Diego, or when the two-time Pro Bowler might return. But Tuck expressed confidence he and Kiwanuka can remain full-time fixtures in the defense.
"I think we can," he said. "I think one thing we have done all season is keeping our body in great shape, making sure we're on top of things in the weight room, make sure you're eating the right stuff and we run in the weight room and out to practice a lot. I think we're in good shape to go. Obviously playing that many snaps does break your body a little bit. I think we're up for the challenge and we're looking forward to it."
"We did have an available rotation," Coughlin said. "We just stayed with what was working and utilized…for example, Damontre had 17 plays. Now he played in pass situations with Kiwi and with Justin in the game, but we do have some flexibility.
"It was good for him to be out there and he did a couple of good things and got an opportunity to play some in that regard, as well as special teams, so those are all positives."
When and if JPP returns to action, Moore could stay in the mix.
"If we have the ability to have a four-man rotation, then so be it," Coughlin said.
QUICK HITS >>
- Tuck's 6.5 sacks are his highest total since he had 11.5 in 2010. He had 5.0 sacks in 2011 and 4.0 sacks in 2012 – or as many as he had in approximately nine minutes of game action last night. So what has changed this season?
"I was healthy," Tuck said. "I was able to train completely this offseason and that's pretty much it. Everyone knows my struggles to get healthy the previous two years and how that affected me on the football field, but this year I've stayed out of the training room and started eating the right things and trying to do the right things. Fortunately, I've stayed healthy this year. I think that's the biggest adjustment."
- Coughlin was asked if it might be best to shut down Pierre-Paul for the remainder of the season.
"I don't think so," Coughlin said. "I don't think it's in that position, but I'll repeat what I said earlier, I can't answer these questions any more than I've tried to. We really don't know what his status will be this week until we get a little bit, probably closer to Wednesday. He hasn't done anything in a week. He's been treated and he's rested and hopefully there's going to be some progress made and we'll see what that looks like when we start to practice."
- Tuck's 4.0 sacks threatened the team record of 6.0, set by Osi Umenyiora in 2007. Tuck said the first text he read after the game was from his good friend and former teammate, who now plays for the Atlanta Falcons. Tuck wouldn't reveal the details of the text, but said on a conference call, "I'm sure you guys can figure out what the gist of the text was about. He politely said that I was close (to the record)."