Shockey focused on Saints
Published 11:57 pm Monday, October 19, 2009
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Jeremy Shockey insisted he wasn’t out to prove anything against the New York Giants.
The flamboyant tight end did, however, want to show the New Orleans Saints he could be an unselfish player and put them first, even as he prepared to play the club that he believes abandoned him during its Super Bowl run two seasons ago.
Shockey had said last week that this matchup of unbeaten teams wasn’t about him, that there were no vendettas.
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He pretty much stayed on message after his four catches for 37 yards and a touchdown helped the Saints (5-0) defeat the Giants 48-27 on Sunday.
‘‘This wasn’t about me proving a point. This was about helping a football team win against the other one,’’ said Shockey, who celebrated as if riding a horse after his score. ‘‘There’s no animosity or point proven.’’
Ultimately, though, Shockey acknowledged, ‘‘I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel a little bit better than (beating) some teams. I had been in that system six years and know a lot of the players, coaches, trainers.
‘‘It was a little awkward, but it was all about getting that win.’’
Shockey was by no means the star of the Saints’ offense, not with Drew Brees throwing for 369 yards and four TDs, or Marques Colston making eight catches for 166 yards and a touchdown.
Brees said the big tight end was important though, and that his intensity was unmistakable.
‘‘You knew the inner fire was burning and about to explode,’’ Brees said. ‘‘You hoped that would be in a very productive way on Sunday. … He played extremely well. I’m extremely happy for him.’’
It was hard to find any member of the Saints who wasn’t pleased, so thorough was their victory.
Each of the Saints’ seven touchdowns were scored by a different player. The Saints outgained the Giants (5-1) on the ground, 133-84, and New Orleans’ defense ruined Eli Manning’s homecoming with Roman Harper’s sack and forced fumble, and Jabari Greer’s interception.
‘‘It’s not the way I imagined it during the week, but you’re going to encounter all sorts of games and all sorts of situations,’’ Manning said before walking across the Superdome field to the team bus, his mother on one side, his father on the other. ‘‘I look at it as a loss. We need to go back to work this week, fix some things and try to improve.’’
It was Manning’s first game in the Superdome, where his father played for the home team, but not a memorable one for him. He was 14 of 31 for 178 yards.
Manning connected with Mario Manningham for a 15-yard score in the second quarter, but also overthrew an open Steve Smith on a deep pass that could have resulted in a touchdown in the first half.
He lost his cool at least once, yelling at Ahmad Bradshaw and slapping his shoulder pad after the running back’s lapse in protection precipitated a rushed throw that Greer intercepted early in the third quarter.
By contrast, Brees connected on 15 straight throws at one point, two short of the franchise record he already owns. That stretch included his first three touchdown passes: 1 yard to Shockey, 36 yards to Robert Meachem and 12 yards to Lance Moore. Mike Bell, Reggie Bush and Heath Evans all scored short touchdowns rushing.
The Saints praised their offensive line, which routinely gave Brees time and did not allow him to be sacked.
‘‘I don’t know that we ever hit him,’’ Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said, exaggerating only slightly. ‘‘At this level, if you’re going to stop the pass, you’ve got to get pressure. You’ve got to force the quarterback not to throw it on his tempo.’’