The Green Bay Packers all but self-destructed tonight and the New York Giants were right there to take advantage.
The result was a 27-3 victory for New York before 75,308 at Giants Stadium.
The Packers, who came into the game with one of the most efficient offenses in the National Football Conference, scoring 89 points in their first three games, never generated much of a threat against the Giants.
"It just was our night. No way they could beat us," said linebacker Lawrence Taylor, the NFL's two-time defensive player of the year. "We contained them. We didn't stop them but we contained them. It was unbelievable."
Running back Rob Carpenter did a nice imitation of John Riggins by rushing for 116 tough yards on 28 carries. Butch Woolfolk ran for 75 yards on 11 carries as the Giants did nothing fancy.
Quarterback Scott Brunner threw only 19 passes and completed eight for 102 yards, including a 27-yarder to Earnest Gray for a touchdown in the third period.
The Giants led, 10-3, at halftime, then scored 17 points in the third period as the Packers turned over the ball four times in the quarter, three times on fumbles. One was returned 35 yards for a touchdown by Terry Jackson.
The Packers were held to 53 yards on the ground and quarterback Lynn Dickey, even though he came into the game as the top-rated passer in the NFL, couldn't do much against the Giants this night.
Dickey completed 16 of 28 for 283 yards and was intercepted once. He was also sacked three times for 24 yards in losses, and for the first time this season didn't throw a touchdown pass.
"I think the defense did mix them up," New York Coach Bill Parcells said. "The defense was great, holding them without a touchdown. But the offense should be given credit too, because it controlled the ball."
The Packers had one drive stopped on the one-foot line, when 6-foot-1, 195-pound defensive back Mark Haynes bulldogged 6-5, 238-pound tight end Gary Lewis to the ground in a dramatic one-on-one battle.
The Packers appeared to lose their spirit after that second-quarter play on fourth down.
The Giants responded by moving the ball to the Green Bay 40 in 15 plays. That drive set up a team-record 56 yard field goal by rookie Ali Haji-Sheikh that gave New York a 10-3 halftime lead.
Four plays into the third period the Packers tried to get fancy and it cost them. Dickey pitched the ball to his right to Gary Ellis, who ran three strides, then handed off to Eddie Lee Ivery coming the other way.
Ivery gained 12 yards, but fumbled when he was hit by Dee Hardison. Jackson picked it up on one bounce and raced 35 yards for a touchdown.
On Green Bay's next possession, Dickey fumbled the center snap and it was recovered by Jerome Sally at the Packer 32.
Haji-Sheikh kicked a 32-yard field goal seven plays later for a 20-3 lead.
The Packers fumbled the ensuing kickoff when Tim Lewis lost it as he tried to break loose, and Mike Whittington recovered for the Giants at the 30.
The Giants couldn't convert this time. They had their only turnover when Carpenter fumbled for the first time since 1981.
On first down from his 11, though, Dickey was intercepted by Beasley Reece, who returned 11 yards to the 32.
New York couldn't score, but Dave Jennings' punt was downed at the one by Mike Dennis, and the Packers were in another hole. They had five possessions in the third period and started inside their 12 each time.
"It's tough to do much when you're both behind and practically standing in your own end zone," said Dickey.
The big question facing the Giants before the game was whether Taylor could play inside linebacker as well as he has played outside linebacker. The reviews were mixed.
Taylor was moved inside by Parcells because middle linebacker Harry Carson will be out at least five weeks following last week's knee surgery.
Taylor didn't have any sacks, but he had six tackles and appeared to be all over the field.
"They're a very good defensive team," said Green Bay Coach Bart Starr, "but we made them look like supermen."