Ending With a Flop

Add another shameless act to the list of embarrassments during the New York Giants' feeble defense of the NFC championship: Michael Strahan's dubious sack of Green Bay QB Brett Favre during Sunday's loss to the Packers. To his credit, former Jet Mark Gastineau took the high road after Strahan broke his record for QB sacks in a season. He even paraphrased Gertrude Stein: "A sack is a sack is a sack is a sack."

But this sack didn't smell like a rose. Even some of Favre's teammates said as much. "I don't know what the play was," Packer right tackle Mark Tauscher told reporters after the game, referring to Favre's naked roll-out and meek flop in front of the unblocked Strahan. "To have it happen the way it did was disappointing," Tauscher said, adding that his team hadn't wanted to give up the record-breaking sack. Speak for yourself, Tauscher, not for your quarterback, who was talking to close pal Strahan before the play and celebrating the sack of himself after. Green Bay tight end Bubba Franks, who wasn't supposed to block Strahan on the play—and didn't—deflected questions by saying, "You might have to ask the quarterback about it." Favre denied taking a dive, and several Giants, obviously covering for Strahan, said the play was a designed roll-out the Packers had run three or four times during the game.

Strahan didn't deny the possibility that Favre rolled over for him when asked by the Post's Paul Schwartz, the only reporter gutsy enough to question it. "If he did . . . ," Strahan said with a shrug. "I wasn't in the huddle calling the play." To top it off, the "sack" was followed by mysterious strategy from Giants coach Jim Fassel. Down by only nine with 2:46 left following a TD and two-point conversion, Fassel opted not to use any of his three timeouts after Strahan's sack. When asked why after the game, Fassel, appearing flustered, said, "I'll keep that to myself."

 
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