Desperation agreed with the New York Giants on Sunday.
Kerry Collins hit Amani Toomer for three touchdowns and ran for another as the Giants routed their local rivals, the Jets, 41-28. The winning total is not a misprint - it was the Giants' most points in four years.
The Giants (6-6) set a season high for yards (490) while going 13-for-19 on third downs in breaking a three-game slide and keeping their playoff hopes alive in the NFC. The Jets (4-8), who have never contended, were overmatched from the outset, even yielding 111 yards rushing on 38 carries to rookie Joe Montgomery, making his first start.
Following a week of turmoil that included coach Jim Fassel scolding defensive star Michael Strahan for his vocal criticism of the unproductive offense, Strahan had nothing to complain about Sunday. The Giants ripped through what had recently been a stingy Jets defense for 27 first-half points, their best 30-minute production since 1992.
The Jets brought the NFL's top-ranked rushing attack into the game and saw it get totally stiffed, gaining a mere 3 yards in the first half, when the outcome was decided, and 11 for the day.
The victory was costly, though, as the Giants lost cornerback Jason Sehorn (broken left leg), tight end Pete Mitchell (sprained right ankle) and center Brian Williams (left knee sprain).
The Giants' error-prone offense was anything but sloppy in a first period in which it outgained the Jets 206-9. The defense was just as effective, not allowing a first down as the Jets had minus-2 yards rushing.
Not that the Giants were playing bombs-away with the ball. They were helped by some soft defense by the Jets, who allowed Ike Hilliard to slip free over the middle for a 33-yard gain, setting up Cary Blanchard's 41-yard field goal on the Giants' first series.
Hilliard gained 34 yards on his next reception and David Patten ran 27 yards on a rare razzle-dazzle play, a double-reverse. That led to Montgomery's 4-yard TD run for a 10-0 edge.
Less than three minutes later, it was 17-0 when Toomer took a 6-yard hitch pass and eluded Aaron Glenn's tackle. Glenn covered his face with his hands as Toomer sped 61 yards for the touchdown.
The Jets woke up temporarily, getting their initial first down on the fourth play of the second period. That helped in an 80-yard drive capped by Keyshawn Johnson's lunging 13-yard TD reception.
But the suddenly potent Giants, helped by a questionable pass interference call on Glenn for 31 yards, marched 71 yards to Collins' 1-yard dive. And they finished their productive half with Blanchard's 31-field goal 10 seconds from the break.
Things didn't change in the third quarter, when a 16-play drive used up 7:26 and culminated with Toomer's second TD reception, a leaping grab over Marcus Coleman.
Ray Lucas added TD passes of 10 yards to Eric Green on a deflection, 10 and 5 yards to Wayne Chrebet in the final quarter.
But Collins finished a 17-for-29, 341-yard performance with an 80-yard rainbow TD to Toomer. He became the first 300-yard passer for the Giants since Phil Simms in 1993.