TAMPA, JAN. 27 -- One would think that as many big games as Giants cornerback Everson Walls has been in -- he is a 10-year veteran of the NFL -- there would be very little that could faze him. But there he was after the game, crying like a baby. It got so bad that he temporarily had to leave the interview area. Of course these weren't the tears of a loser. These were tears of joy.

Walls had never been in a Super Bowl.

Now he has won one.

"I just broke down crying," Walls said after he collected himself in a dark corner. "I couldn't finish. It was just too early to do interviews. I just lost it."

The Giants locker room was filled with unyielding yet understandable joy. And pride, especially among the defensive players. They had tempered and, in the Bills' final drive, stuffed the NFL's best offense.

"You can't beat the feeling," Giants linebacker Carl Banks said. "You can't beat it."

Thanks in part to Giants running back Ottis Anderson and the offense, Buffalo had the ball for only 19 minutes 27 seconds. "We wanted to shorten the game," Giants Coach Bill Parcells said. "We wanted to keep {quarterback} Jim Kelly off the field and let our defense take over."

That they did. Buffalo converted only one third down the entire game, and the Giants busted up Bills wide receivers, especially Andre Reed. Reed did have eight catches for 62 yards but just about every time he caught the ball -- in particular when he caught it across the middle -- someone hit him hard.

"We got some pretty good shots on him," Banks said. "I needed to get the best shots on him I could. For a guy who comes across the middle as much as he does . . . we all knew we needed to give him some shots.

"I was looking for him, yes."

The Giants do one thing extremely well: They adjust quickly to a familiar opponent. New York knew it would have to do better defensively than it had in the first meeting, when the Giants lost, 17-13.

This time New York entered the game with a new defensive strategy. Defensive coordinator Bill Belichick said the Giants basically had three defenses: One was called "five backs" in which they used two down linemen, four linebackers and five defensive backs. The second defense used six defensive backs. The third, which the Giants never used because Buffalo never forced them to, was a variation of the first defense.

"All year long we weren't the ones who were complaining about not getting enough respect on defense," said Banks. "We just wanted to play well as a team."

"The 51 points they scored {against the Los Angeles Raiders in the AFC championship} . . . we didn't care. Those points weren't scored against us."

The main thing the Giants did was shut down the passing lanes. No Buffalo player had more than eight catches and Reed's 62 yards were the most of any Bills receiver. Also, no one made an easy catch.

The Bills' ground game was the only thing that hurt the Giants. Running back Thurman Thomas rushed 15 times for 135 yards and one touchdown.

But when it counted in that final drive, the Giants held, forcing Buffalo to attempt a 47-yard field goal, which Scott Norwood missed wide right. The Giants' defensive line, led by right end Leonard Marshall, clogged the running lanes and put pressure on Kelly.

"We didn't do anything fancy," Marshall said. "We didn't do a lot of creative things. We just beat them one on one. That's all."

"My guys," Parcells said, "let me tell you something about my guys. The one thing about us is that we're tough. There is a lot of heart on this team. When we play as one team, when we're all playing together, we come to play. I couldn't ask for any better. It makes it easy to coach.

"For me it doesn't get any better than this. This feeling is better than anything I know."