Pats’ perfection bid may hit ‘Giant’ wall
By: By TOM CANAVAN, AP Sports Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — If wide receiver Plaxico Burress and running back Brandon Jacobs are any indication, the New York Giants aren’t resting anyone in their bid to end the New England Patriots’ perfect season.
Burress practiced on a limited basis for only the third time this season and Jacobs worked out on a sprained ankle Wednesday as New York (10-5) got ready for the regular-season finale against the undefeated Patriots at Giants Stadium on Saturday night.
“No one in here is screaming ‘Let’s rest,’ I can tell you that,” Jacobs said. “Guys want to play. It’s the last regular-season game and it’s home. Guys won’t want to sit down.”
Having Jacobs on the field was somewhat of a surprise. The big running back sprained an ankle in the third quarter of Sunday’s 38-21 playoff-clinching win over the Buffalo Bills, and it seemed that he would get some rest this weekend with the Giants looking forward to a wild-card game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Jan. 5 or 6.
However, Jacobs, who ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday, was full go in practice.
“The ankle is feeling way better than I thought it was going to end up feeling,” Jacobs said. “I feel good. I feel great, as far as the ankle is concerned.”
If there were surprises, it was Burress and rookie running back Ahmad Bradshaw.
Bradshaw replaced Jacobs on Sunday and gained 151 yards on 17 carries, highlighted by a game-clinching 88-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Bradshaw did not practice Wednesday because of a calf injury. His status is day to day.
Coach Tom Coughlin caught everyone off guard when he announced that Burress would practice on a limited basis. It was his first workout since practicing in the week preceding the Dallas game on Nov. 11.
“I came in yesterday and told the coach I wanted to go out and get a few reps during the week,” said Burress, who has battled a sprained ankle since early in training camp. “I’m starting to feel a little better. It had nothing to do with the game this week. I just want to get out and do what I can. We’re approaching this game to go out and win.”
Burress leads the Giants with 66 catches and 10 touchdowns, but his production has slipped in the second half of the season. Eight of his touchdowns came in the first six games.
He has only had 14 receptions and one TD in the past four games.
It was assumed by many that he would be the one player that Coughlin would rest against the Patriots.
Burress doesn’t want the rest.
“I don’t think it’s a benefit for us to take off,” he said. “I think the more we play, the better we’ll get. When you get into the playoffs, it’s a different speed. The game is a little bit faster. Decisions have to be made a little bit quicker and I think that’s the mode that we’re trying to get ourselves into.”
Quarterback Eli Manning was thrilled to be working with Burress.
“It was just good to get work with the guys that are going to be out there on Saturday, in this instance, but just to work on the routes that we don’t get to always throw during practice or during pregame,” Manning said. “You get some reps and just get the feel of the timing of what it should feel like during the game.”
Coughlin again refused to say whether anyone would be rested against New England. His players shed no light on the situation.
“Coach Coughlin said we’re going to play to win the game,” Jacobs said. “Whatever we have to do to do that, that’s what we’re going to do. No matter what it is, we’re going to do it.”