Romp lets Collins get a rare break

Quarterback Kerry Collins had an uncharacteristically easy day at the office yesterday. Collins watched the final 14:11 of the Giants' 37-7 shellacking of the Dallas Cowboys at Giants Stadium from the sideline. He had taken every regular-season snap for the Giants since Nov. 21, 1999.

It was different," Collins said. Truthfully, Collins probably got bored on the sideline. But, he said, "It was good for Jesse (Palmer) to get in there and get some reps."

The Giants (8-6) had not won a game by more than seven points this season. Their average margin of victory in their previous seven victories was 4.9 points.

"It was a little bit unusual for us," Collins said. "It seems like we're always in tight games. It was nice to get a lead early and keep that lead."

Collins left the game after his final scoring drive, capped by a 31-yard Matt Bryant field goal that provided a 30-0 lead. Collins completed 13 of 27 passes for 190 yards. Palmer, in his second season out of Florida, took over when the Giants regained possession with 13:02 left. Palmer completed three of four passes for 30 yards.

With about 10:40 left, when Palmer attempted a pass to fullback Charles Stackhouse -- a pass he completed for 10 yards -- he broke a significant streak. Collins had thrown 1,852 consecutive passes as Giants quarterback, which is believed to be the longest such streak in NFL history.

Palmer said he thought he might see his first NFL action when the Giants took a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. Then, he was sure of it after Collins conferred with coach Jim Fassel in the fourth quarter.

"Hey," Collins told Palmer, "I think you're going in."