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Redskins Can Learn Plenty From Giants' Title


It took plenty for the Giants to end the Patriots' dreams of going 19-0.

It took great quarterback play from Eli Manning.

It took a spectacular catch from David Tyree, a nifty goal-line route by Plaxico Burress and dominant play along the offensive line.

But more than anything else, it took a ferocious pass rush in order for the Giants to upset New England 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII Sunday night in Glendale, Arizona.

That's something the Redskins can learn from the game as they start making plans for 2008.

The Giants' defensive line pressured Tom Brady all game long, recording four of the team's five sacks.

It's not just that the stars of the Giants' defensive line, Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora, came out. Some of the lesser lights showed up, too.

Justin Tuck clearly was the MVP of the game in the first half with his two sacks and rookie Jay Alford produced a key sack in the final seconds.

This is a defense that led the NFL with 53 sacks last season. Umenyiora had 13 sacks, Tuck registered 10 and Strahan had nine.

In Super Bowl XLII, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo rotated players into the game and did a masterful job of keeping his pass-rushers fresh.

When the Giants add Mathias Kiwanuka--who was on IR for most of last season--to the mix in 2008, they should have an even more impressive array of pass rushers.

The Redskins logged 33 sacks last season, an improvement from the 19 they posted in 2006. Twenty of the sacks were from defensive linemen.

Clearly, the Redskins' defense needs to get better sack production from the defensive line.

Andre Carter, with 10 last year, has proven to be a quality pass-rusher. Chris Wilson showed improvement down the stretch, finishing with four sacks.

It is an area that is sure to be evaluated by team officials this offseason.

The Redskins can take some measure of consolation from the fact that a month and a half ago they were decisive in shutting down the eventual Super Bowl champs 22-10 in Giants Stadium.

Redskins fans may remember that Tyree was inactive for the Giants that night. His mother died of a heart attack in Florida on the day of the game.

A Pro Bowler as a special teamer, Tyree had not really done a great deal to distinguish himself as a wide receiver.

Until the Super Bowl.

His five-yard TD reception from Manning at 11:05 of the fourth quarter put the Giants up 10-7.

With 2:42 to go, Randy Moss and Tom Brady made it look easy, with a six-yard TD connection that appeared to send New England to 19-0 on the season and to its fourth Super Bowl win in seven years.

But with 1:15 left and the Giants facing a third-and-five at their own 44, Manning somehow escaped the New England pass rush and found Tyree for the 32-yard gain that will go down as Super Bowl XLII's swing play.

Tyree actually caught the ball with the aid of the helmet of Pats' safety Rodney Harrison.

Maybe only Lynn Swann has made more determined catches in Super Bowl history.

As we all know, the Redskins had a real chance to bury the Giants very early in the season. On Week 3 at FedExField, Washington led 17-3 by halftime.

But the New Yorkers rallied for a 24-17 win that saved their season.

They deserve every compliment, given that they beat Tampa Bay, Dallas and Green Bay on the road before shocking the team that some said was the best in NFL history.

On the big stage, the Giants won mostly because they brought a pass rush that would not be denied and a remarkable pass play that could go down in history as one of the signature moments of the Super Bowl.

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