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Mission Accomplished: Giants Defense Back in Business

Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora lead a fine effort by the starters

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The Giants defense is feeling gigantic again, for now.

    In this space on Friday, we opined that it was time for the Giants to stop talking about being a good defense and start playing like one.

    It's nice to know that Justin Tuck, Corey Webster and the rest of the Big Blue defenders are avid readers. Any fans of the Giants who want to pay their respects are welcome to drop by 30 Rock and leave gratuities with Stu, the security guard by the Sixth Avenue entrance. Any amount is appreciated, but, please, no personal checks.

    We're kidding about everything except the resurgent performance of the Giants starting defense on Saturday night against the Steelers. They looked like the aggressive, playmaking group that everyone still thought they were despite going more than a year without actually playing like one on the field. As it always seems to be with these Giants, the whole tenor of the game was set by the defensive line.

    Tuck blew up an end around and combined on a sack with Mathias Kiwanuka. Osi Umenyiora made tackles on a couple of running plays and Rocky Bernard made his first ever play in a Giants uniform by stopping Mewelde Moore on the one-yard line as the first half finished. There was consistent pressure on Ben Roethlisberger, which helped lead to an interception by Webster and a scoreless first 15 minutes.

    Doubters will surely point out that it was the first preseason work for a quarterback who finds it easier to push around co-eds than professional defenses and focus on the still visible flaws. As invisible as the linebackers remain and as sketchy as some of the pass coverage still was, however, the performance was light years ahead of anything in evidence last Monday night against the Jets. There still wasn't much exotic about anything Perry Fewell was calling, leading you to believe that the Giants are capable of much more when they start getting a bit more creative in their attacks of opposing offenses.

    All in all, it was a good step forward at a time when you needed to see one to believe in what the Giants are doing defensively this season.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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