Collins battles to the bitter end

Would anyone have blamed quarterback Kerry Collins if he wanted to leave yesterday's game against the Bills?

Collins took a continual pounding and was sacked six times. But, given the opportunity to have backup Jesse Palmer endure the final minutes of the 24-7 loss, Collins declined.

"Because this is my team," Collins said. "When it's good I want to be there and when it's bad I want to be there. You can't always be at the front when things are going well; you got to be there the whole time. And that's why I didn't want to come out."

Collins completed 17 of 35 passes for 233 yards and one TD. He fumbled twice; the Bills recovered one. Playing behind an offensive line that included three rookies and second-year RT Ian Allen and was missing LT Luke Petitgout (back), Collins could count on one hand the occasions when he had ample time to throw.

"All I ask is that they fight," Collins said. "We're all going to make mistakes."

Undrafted rookie Jeff Roehl replaced Petitgout and was matched up against Bills DE Aaron Schobel, who had a career-high three sacks -- the most by a Giants opponent in six years -- and recovered the Collins fumble. Roehl estimated that the Bills blitzed as many times yesterday as they did in their previous four games combined.

"Just because they know we're inexperienced and they know we haven't picked them up as a unit together," Roehl said. "There's a big difference getting out there and doing it full-speed versus seeing it and knowing what to do. Because we all know what to do. We just didn't do it."