On national television, Monday night no less, New York Giants Coach Bill Parcells told his star quarterback, Phil Simms, to "shut up and go sit . . . down." And you thought undefeated teams were all hugs and kisses.

The two had a heated exchange on the sideline during the Giants' 24-7 victory over the Colts in Indianapolis. But they were able to laugh about the incident afterward, a sign that an 8-0 record can soften the blow of controversy.

A spat between coach and quarterback normally would dominate postgame discussions. But even that took a back seat: The Giants have won 11 consecutive games, tying a club record set in 1927-28.

"We always have a couple of good conversations every game," Simms said with a smile. "Me and Bill always yell at each other all the time. It's an emotional game played by emotional people. He was just upset {over an incomplete pass}. I said, 'What the {heck} do you want me to do?' Because I would have completed the pass except one of their defensive guys tipped it."

Parcells and the Giants are seeking perfection, not just victories. Which can only explain why Parcells would get so upset about an incomplete pass. "There is no problem" with Simms, Parcells declared.

And there shouldn't have been. Simms completed 17 of 21 passes for 172 yards. Until the tipped pass that landed in the hands of free safety Mike Prior in the second quarter, Simms had gone 150 passes without an interception, equaling his best previous streak.

Even with the interception, Simms remains the NFL's top-rated passer. Overall he is 107 of 166 for 1,337 yards, 10 touchdowns and a league-low two interceptions. His 78-50 record as a starter makes him the second winningest active quarterback, behind San Francisco's Joe Montana (93-38).

But Simms is one of several weapons on offense available to Parcells. Running back Dave Meggett is another, and he may be the most dangerous. Besides rushing four times for 19 yards and returning six punts for 39 against the Colts, he caught six passes for 47 yards, often drawing a defensive back or double-teams. Another distraction for the defense.

"The thing about the way our offense is going," said Giants center Bart Oates, "is that we are in such a rhythm right now. We have everything pretty much cranking. Our ground game is going, when we need to pass, Phil is on, Nothing is going wrong right now.

"We're pretty much right on schedule. I like the statements we make week after week with our play. If we continue to play like the way we did {Monday} then big things can happen. But we have to stay focused."

Said Simms: "Every week we come out and play alert and emotional football. It's a great feeling to be on a team like that. Everyone wants to be a part of it now. The more we win, the more pressure I think there is and I think the more alert we're going to stay and the harder we'll keep playing."

As for the defense, the Giants don't think simply in terms of winning, but by how much they'll dominate.

"This team has a strong nucleus," said safety Dave Duerson, who finished the scoring by returning Colts quarterback Jeff George's fumble 31 yards for the first touchdown of his eight-year career. "There is a great mix of veterans and young players." The togetherness reminds him of his 1985 Chicago Bears, who won the Super Bowl.

"We want to dominate from the beginning," cornerback Everson Walls said. "We don't just want to win. I think you can set the tone not just for one game but for several games by completely dominating a team. That's what we're doing now."

That's what they did Monday night, holding George to 160 yards passing and no touchdowns while sacking the rookie three times.

"You have to give them credit," George said, "because they certainly proved why they are one of the better teams in this league."

And they keep on proving it too.