DEFENSE . . . DEFENSE

for 56 minutes turning Little Eli into just a pedestrian quarterback? 

Start with Henry. What a game. Seven tackles, one interception, four passes broken up, one forced fumble. And for some reason, the Giants seemed to line up Plaxico Burress, a previous burr in the Cowboys' behinds, on Henry's side. Bad move. 

And know, no matter what it might have appeared, Henry was not shadowing Burress. As Glenn said, "Where he lined up, that's who played him. Didn't do anything special." 

Then go to big plays, Greg Ellis picking up a Manning fumble and rumbling 37 yards. Roy Williams putting his helmet on the ball rookie Brandon Jacobs was carrying at the 1-yard line, then falling on it for the recovery. The aforementioned Henry interception at the goal line, robbing the Giants of at least a field-goal attempt from 30 yards, and returning the ball to the 44. 

But most of all, circle that Cowboys pressure on the quarterback. 

"We got to the quarterback a lot, and that's what good defenses do," said Glover, who was responsible for that "a lot," recording two sacks and a forced Manning fumble himself. "We knew that going in. He's a good quarterback, but not as good under pressure." 

Ellis was responsible for one of the other sacks, and as for the other, guess who? DeMarcus Ware, now recording a sack in four consecutive games, matching Ellis' streak of last year and just one short of the five straight of Jim Jeffcoat's in 1992. 

And it wasn't just the sacks. The pressure was immeasurable, forcing Manning into several hurried throws, bad throws and just play throw-aways. He never got into a rhythm until those final two drives, and even at that, the Giants came up short on the first, fumbling away at the one before returning to score the game-tying touchdown with 19 seconds remaining in the game. 

This means that after six games, the Cowboys now have 20 sacks - at least four in half the games. That now has increased their 16-game pace to 53, and with 10 games to go, leaves them just 13 short of last year's total. 

This just might be the defense's signature: Pressure. And while they did blitz some, most of the pressure seemed to be generated by the front three and then the front four when in the nickel. Ellis and Glover were big trouble for the Giants. Another opponent made a concession to Ware's speed, doubling him and chipping him, and when the Giants didn't, paying for the neglect. 

And these guys must have been good, because even Parcells threw them some cheese. 

"We're playing pretty good (on defense), I mean we really are," Parcells said, possibly in a weak moment before regaining his wits to say, "but we have a few holes. We will have our hands full next week." 

That's what Parcells probably said after the Oakland game. And that's what he said after the Philadelphia game. It's no wonder he didn't use his "mail-order catalog" line, since Seattle went into its game Sunday night against Houston the newest top-ranked offense and averaging 25.2 points a game. 

These offenses just keep coming and coming and coming. 

So do we dare say this defense is for real? Have we seen enough of its work to start drawing conclusions? I mean the Cowboys have given up an average of 14 points over the past three games. I mean the defense is responsible for an 11.7 average over the past three games since the Eagles' only touchdown was a fumble return. 

Whatchya think? 

"I don't know," Glenn said. "To go out and make a statement, 'We finally got it?' We can't do that yet." 

But the evidence suggests, heavy emphasis on the "yet."   

MICK SHOTS

 
  Some might think Parcells went a tad conservative when deciding to kick the 29-yard field goal with 12:44 left in the game to take a 10-6 lead instead of going for it on fourth-and-two inches from the Giants 11 to possibly land the knock-out punch. So was he thinking just put this on his defense? "No, just get seven ahead so a touchdown doesn't beat you," Parcells said. "Would have lost the game if we didn't kick that field

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