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February 13, 2008

How we stopped the greatest offense ever Giants assistant reveals the game plan

It was Sunday, Dec. 30, about 10 hours after the New England Patriots officially made history.

The Patriots defeated the New York Giants, 38-35, in one of the most entertaining regular-season games of the year, thus being the first team ever to go unbeaten 16-0.

The Patriots were given the day off with their impending bye week ahead of them.

With a wild card game at Tampa Bay just seven days away, Giants coaches had a little bounce to their step as they were gathered in the conference room at the Meadowlands.

But before they talked about Tampa Bay, the coaches discussed the Patriots.

"We always do that the morning after a game," said Giants defensive backs coach Peter Giunta, a Salem, Mass., native. "Tom (Coughlin) likes to talk about the team we just played and what we would do differently if we played them again.

"And to be honest, we didn't even think about playing the Patriots again (in the Super Bowl) at that point," said Giunta. "But first, we critiqued the Patriots game and then it was on to Tampa."

On the defensive side of the ball, four things had to change.

"One, we had to find ways to get more pressure on Brady. That was No. 1," recalled Giunta (pronounced JUN-ta). "Two, we couldn't give up the big plays, especially to (Randy) Moss. He killed us. Three, we did an OK job on their screen passes, but we would have to be more disciplined in defending it because that is as vital to their offense as the long passes to Moss are. And four, limit the gap running plays, where the Patriots pull their offensive linemen. (Laurence) Maroney didn't have a big game against, but a few of his runs hurt us."

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