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NFC notebook

By BRUCE LOWITT, RICK STROUD, Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 15, 2001


QB Collins obliterates Giants playoff marks

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Giants ran, or more accurately, Kerry Collins passed roughshod over the team's playoff record book Sunday, setting marks for completions (28), yards (381) and touchdowns (five) in the 41-0 NFC Championship Game victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

Collins broke marks of 25 completions by Phil Simms at San Francisco in 1984, 290 yards by Scott Brunner at San Francisco in 1981 and four touchdowns by Simms against San Francisco in 1986.

Collins' five touchdown passes also tied the record for an NFL or NFC championship game. Chicago Bears quarterback Sid Luckman did it in 1943 against Washington. This does not include Super Bowls.

Ike Hilliard's career-high 10 receptions surpassed the Giants' post-season record of nine by Bob Schnelker at Baltimore in 1959, and his career-high 155 post-season receiving yards are second to Schnelker's 178 in that 1959 game.

The Giants matched their playoff record of 34 points in a half. They did it in first half of the 1956 NFL Championship Game en route to a 47-7 victory over the Bears. And the shutout was the first in a conference championship since 1986. The Giants did it then, too, 17-0 against Washington.

New York's 41-point victory margin was the second-largest in team post-season history. The Giants beat San Francisco 49-3 in a 1986 divisional playoff.

OH, BROTHER: Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber was in the Giants locker room after the game, celebrating his twin brother Tiki's trip to Super Bowl XXXV.

"I'll probably have a twinge of jealousy when the game starts," Ronde said, "but it's definitely going to be a good experience for our family. It'll be fun. It'll be fun to watch him play. It's definitely the culmination of a dream. I mean, everybody wants to get to the Super Bowl."

NICE PLACE YOU HAVE HERE: Giants linebackers and Miami Hurricanes alumni Mike Barrow and Jessie Armstead said they're looking forward to returning to Florida for the Super Bowl.

"It feels awesome," Barrow said. "Jessie and I, we'll probably get to stay at (fellow 'Cane Warren) Sapp's house. I hope he'll let us in and not be mad."

THIS IS WHAT THEY MEAN BY DEFENSE?: Minnesota averaged 243.2 net passing yards in its 17 games this season. It got 60 Sunday, fifth-fewest allowed by the Giants in their history and fewest since they held the Bucs to 59 on Oct. 4, 1998. The 114 net yards were third-fewest in a post-season game (86 by Cleveland vs. the Giants in 1959; 99 by the Chicago Cardinals vs. Philadelphia in 1948).

LUCKY CHARMS: After addressing the team Saturday, former Giants linebackers Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson roamed the sideline and prodded the defense to shut down the Vikings.

"We told them yesterday how proud we are of them, and during the course of the game we kept stressing we wanted a shutout, a shutout by the defense, and they gave it to us," Carson said.

Will the Giants' good-luck charms be at the Super Bowl Jan. 28 in Tampa? "I'm going anyway," Carson said. "If they give me a sideline pass, I'll be on the sideline."

NO MOSS: Randy Moss' streak of playoff games with at least one touchdown reception was snapped at five. He still ranks first in history with 1.2 touchdowns per post-season game (seven touchdowns in six games). Harold Carmichael is second with six touchdowns in seven games.

SHHHH: John Randle, the Vikings' trash-talking defensive end, was kept quiet by the New York offensive line, especially left tackle Lomas Brown. Randle had three tackles and no sacks and was on the sideline on some rushing plays.

"He didn't say a word," Giants receiver Amani Toomer said. "He was quiet. I was wondering if he was even playing."

MR. SMITH GOES HOME: When Robert Smith ran for 25 yards about three minutes into the third quarter, it was the third time in 18 games this season the Giants have allowed a run of more than 20 yards. How bad was it for the Vikings? It was their first rushing first down of the game.

SEND IT TO MR. MARA: Giants cornerback Jason Sehorn wasn't going to miss Super Bowl XXXV, regardless of the outcome of Sunday's game. "I was going anyway," he said. "It's just nice to have someone else paying my bills."

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