The New York Giants proved once again that stingy defense can be their best offense.
Christian Peter scored on a 38-yard fumble return and rookie Andre Weathers ran back one of New York's four interceptions for a touchdown as the Giants defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 17-13, today.
New York won its fifth straight with Kent Graham at quarterback, but its offense had virtually no success against a Buccaneers defense that allowed just 107 yards--the second lowest total in Giants history.
"We set our course to come down here and win the football game, whatever it took," Giants Coach Jim Fassel said. "I had a sense we were not going to be denied, that we were going to fight to the bitter end, and that was their attitude."
Peter scored on Tampa Bay's third offensive play when Jessie Armstead sacked Trent Dilfer and forced a fumble that bounced right into the hands of the 300-pound defensive tackle.
Weathers erased a 10-7 deficit with his eight-yard interception return late in the third quarter. Percy Ellsworth picked off two passes in the fourth quarter before Dilfer was benched.
"You keep hitting at something, it's got to break. That was our attitude," Armstead said. "We kept knocking at that door, and finally we kicked that door in. I don't care who the quarterback is; you put enough pressure on him, you'll rattle the quarterback."
Tampa Bay Coach Tony Dungy said he had not decided whether Dilfer had lost the starting job.
With about 12 minutes left, Ellsworth's first interception set up Brad Daluiso's 36-yard field goal, giving the Giants their 17-13 lead. Eric Zeier replaced Dilfer with nine minutes to go. The backup quarterback's last pass, on fourth down with about a minute left, was intercepted by Phillippi Sparks.