INDIANAPOLIS, NOV. 5 -- Vice President Dan Quayle was on hand to watch the New York Giants manhandle the Indianapolis Colts on "Monday Night Football." And like many of the 58,688 who joined him at Hoosier Dome, he left the game early.
You can't blame him. Quayle is a hard-core Hoosier, and to watch the Colts get pummeled by the undefeated Giants, 24-7, must be like watching George Bush's approval ratings take a nose dive. This game was an indication of just how much Indianapolis must do to rebuild its organization, and just how focused the Giants are.
This would have been a perfect game for New York to go into a full-fledged funk. The Colts (2-7) are a miserable team. The Giants were coming off an emotional win against the Redskins and down the road have a Dec. 3 showdown against the San Francisco 49ers.
But New York didn't skip a beat and are 8-0 because of it. They now join the 49ers as the first pair of teams to go undefeated in eight games since the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions won their first 10 games in 1934.
"The one thing we wanted to show tonight was dominance," said Giants cornerback Everson Walls. "We wanted didn't want to let up against them because that's what people were looking for us to do.
"Of course everyone has in the back of their minds the 49ers. It could be a nice little showdown and the networks will hype it up. But we have to take care of business every week. And that's what we did tonight."
Said center Bart Oates: "We wanted to make a statement to the rest of the league. We will fight every week, no matter what team we're playing. It would have been very easy for us to come in here and let down against a team with a poor record. But the sign of a good team is its effort week in and week out."
Dominance is exactly what happened. The Giants are now so good that their defense no longer talks about how they'll win, but how much will they dominate an opposing offense. New York held Indianapolis to 55 yards rushing and rookie quarterback Jeff George, the No. 1 pick in this year's draft, to just 160 yards passing and no touchdowns.
Giants quarterback Phil Simms had another near-flawless performance. He led the Giants to scores on three of their first four drives, the last one ending in Ottis Anderson's run up the middle from three yards that gave New York a 17-0 lead and put the game out of reach. Simms was 17 of 21 for 172 yards and his lone interception, his first in 150 pass attempts, was a tipped ball.
"Simms is a great one," said Colts Coach Ron Meyer, whose team has lost three straight home games.
Despite the outcome, George actually fared well, considering the conditions. He is playing behind possibly the worst offensive line in the NFL, and as Walls said, one of the Giants' objectives was to rattle the rookie from Illinois.
All week people wondered how George would do against the league's second-best defense after missing several games with an abdominal injury. The answer: He was beaten, bruised and battered, but he didn't quit. George didn't flinch when the likes of Lawrence Taylor and Pepper Johnson were trying to separate the horseshoe from his helmet.
He was sacked three times for 34 yards.
"I feel okay," George said. "The media and everybody else was worried more about my chance of getting hurt tonight than I was. Football is football and the Giants are tough. You have to give them credit because they certainly proved tonight why they are one of the better teams in this league."
The Colts scored with 7:42 remaining in the third quarter after George led Indianapolis 80 yards in 14 plays, the touchdown coming on a one-yard run by running back Albert Bentley.
They were driving in the fourth quarter when George was introduced to Johnson. On third down from the Colts 46, George rolled left. As he set up to throw, Johnson blindsided him and the ball popped loose. Safety Dave Duerson scooped it up at the 31 and trotted into the end zone, giving New York a 24-7 lead with 13:23 left in the game.
George was slow getting up and visibly shaken.
"He's no punk," Walls said. "He's no sissy. I was impressed. He took shot after shot."
As do the Giants, but nothing seems to hurt them.