Just a few post-game facts and figures from the 24-17 loss to Pittsburgh for you to munch on overnight.
The reason Brandon Jacobs was out was a stiff neck caused by what the Giants suspect was a set of shrugs in the weight room. He went for an MRI, but it came out negative, according to Tom Coughlin. And GM Jerry Reese said Jacobs' problem is not considered serious, especially since the Giants know what caused it. Still, it kind of threw the coaching staff when he walked in today with neck stiffness. "It came out of nowhere," Coughlin said.
Meanwhile, Reese said he wouldn't be surprised to see Eli Manning return to the playing field next week against Baltimore. The 12 stitches that closed his head wound are out, and the healing process is well under way. "I wouldn't be surprised (to see him play)," Reese said.
Coughlin was none too happy with Hakeem Nicks, who was ejected on the fourth play of the game along with Pittsburgh DB Ike Taylor for throwing punches. "All I saw was a to-do on the field," Coughlin said. "Hakeem said he was in position for blocking (it was a DJ Ware run) and the guy started swinging, and he swung back." The lesson, Coughlin said, is to walk away. "It's easy to be provoked. It's not easy to walk away. But you walk away and you're still playing." Nicks said he regretted his actions. "I've never been ejected from a game in my life until tonight," he said. "I was blocking downfield and trying to finish my block, and the next thing I knew, he was throwing punches, so I tried to defend myself. I'm disappointed because I let my coaches and teammates down."
For a third-string quarterback who receives minimal snaps in practice, Rhett Bomar did a commendable job taking his first entire game of work. He was 13-of-26 for 167 yards and an interception, but he showed both mobility and toughness. He was especially tough in rising from the third-quarter roughness call on DE Ziggy Hood, who hit him around the knees. He continued the 12-play, 74-yard drive, threading a nice throw to Sinorice Moss for a first down deep in Pittsburgh territory. And Andre Brown finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown run.
Brown wound up with 61 yards on 13 carries while working in every quarter. Ahmad Bradshaw would have started, as would have safety Antrel Rolle, but both missed a meeting and remained on the bench until after the first series. Sha'reff Rashad started for Rolle. Still, Bradshaw had 28 yards on six carries, including a 9-yard touchdown run.
Rashad and DJ Ware had concussions and will be evaluated in the coming days.
Kenny Phillips and Keith Bulluck both got about six snaps each, just enough to "get their feet wet," according to Coughlin. Reese took special pleasure in seeing them both out there after major knee surgery. "We're eventually going to have the best players out there, but it was good to see them get snaps," Reese said. "I was very happy to see them out there."
Though the Steelers rushed for a total of 161 yards, a lot of that came against the second and third teams. The first defense improved greatly in that area over the Jets' game, with both Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck making two wonderful stops behind the line. There are still some kinks to be worked out, especially up the middle, but it looks like Perry Fewell's system is beginning to take shape. Also, it's significant to note that the Giants were in the game at halftime, down 10-7 after Bruce Johnson got beat on a 68-yard touchdown pass to speedster Mike Wallace. The game got out of hand in the second half, when the backups were in.