For an extra few seconds, Kerry Collins remained on the Gillette Stadium turf and removed his helmet, just to make sure, he said, "that all of my faculties were in shape."
To say nothing of his teeth still rooted to his gums.
After being belted by Patriots defensive lineman Dan Klecko in the fourth quarter of the Giants' 17-6 loss yesterday, Collins got to his feet after the momentary delay. Klecko, a rookie from Colts Neck, was flagged for roughing the passer. His collision with Collins was of the helmet-to-helmet variety for which the NFL levies fines.
"I'm sure he'll get fined -- and he should," Collins said. "It will be dealt with that way."
Collins said Klecko's hit was "reminiscent" of the shot he took from LB Bill Romanowski that broke his jaw during the 1997 preseason. Collins has been indestructible since signing with the Giants in 1999. He has not missed a game because of injury in six seasons and said he was fine after the game.
"I was dazed for a little bit, but I'm all right," Collins said. He was sacked twice by the Patriots.
"Collins is so good, you have to get in his face or he's going to pick you apart," Klecko said.
Collins said he was hit "only a handful of times" despite dropping back to pass 62 times. He scrambled once for four yards.
"That's not bad," he said. "(Pass protection) is not our problem right now."
Patriots coach, Bill Belichick is known for his defensive innovations and might have proved it again against the Giants. While the Patriots recently had switched their scheme from a 3-4 to a 4-3 because of injuries at linebacker, they played mostly with three down linemen and four linebackers. They used deep zones and often "Cover 2" -- where the cornerback and safety bracket the receivers -- to limit the Giants' opportunities to throw downfield.
It worked. Collins' longest completion went for 27 yards to back-up TE Marcellus Rivers. WRs Ike Hilliard (five catches, 58 yards) and Amani Toomer (4 for 40) had a long gain of 14 between them.
"As soon as we saw the Giants' basic plays, we ended up playing (a 3-4) even more than we thought we would," Belichick said. "We thought we would play it some, but we ended up playing it a lot."
Belichick estimated the Patriots played 60 snaps of "Cover 2" -- far more than they had played in any of their five previous games. The Giants ran 85 offensive plays.
"They sat and watched us a little bit," Hilliard said. "They turned our "They sat and watched us a little bit," Hilliard said. "They turned our offense into an offense that had to be patient. ... When they have four or five guys back, there's no reason to take a shot down there and have a prayer in the wind."