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Fassel Makes Right Call

November 04, 2002|From Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Jim Fassel spoke, and the New York Giants responded.

Running plays called by Fassel instead of offensive coordinator Sean Payton, Tiki Barber ran for 101 yards and scored on runs of two and 44 yards as the Giants broke out of a scoring slump and beat Jacksonville, 24-17, Sunday night, handing the Jaguars their fourth straight loss.

"We made it easy for Fassel," Barber said after the Giants (4-4) ended a two-game losing streak. "We didn't make any mistakes."

Barber is the first Giants' running back to rush for 100 yards this season.

Kerry Collins added an eight-yard touchdown pass to Ron Dixon in a game in which the Giants had 394 yards.

"A lot of times I'll put the pressure on myself," Fassel said. "I have done that before here and it stirred people up, and I'll take the pressure. I know people have second-guessed me. I don't care. I make decisions based on what gives us the best opportunity to win. If it means I put my own head in the noose, so be it."

Fassel felt he had to do something after seeing his team score seven touchdowns in seven games and only 13 points in the last two, so he decided to call the offensive plays for the first time since 1999.

"It was just what we needed, to get back into a rhythm," said Collins, who completed 20 of 28 passes for 228 yards. "We found a good tempo and it allowed us to move the ball real well."

Tim Seder kicked a 24-yard field goal and Mark Brunell threw fourth-quarter touchdown passes of 14 yards to Bobby Shaw and nine to Jimmy Smith for Jacksonville (3-5).

However, the Jaguars played a mistake-filled game that started with an early fumble by Brunell and continued with three key dropped passes.

"They played faster," Jaguar safety Marlon McCree said. "We were too anxious. We didn't get settled down.

"We did a few good things, but they controlled us. They kicked our butts basically. We made them look like some superstars. They did a good job on offense. Fassel running the plays helped them out."

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