Injuries on Offense Force Giants to Adjust Game Plan

After sputtering for three quarters, the Giants (7-4) were finally able to move the ball late in the game and rallied for a 24-20 win.

They will look to add more diversity as the newcomers grow more comfortable, beginning Sunday against the (5-6) at New Meadowlands Stadium.

“In this league, you want to be put in a situation where the plays you’re running and the things you’re doing, the guys are comfortable running it,” said Monday in a conference call.

The Giants are uncertain when their offense will be made whole again with the return of their starters. The offensive line has been missing three important pieces: center Shaun O’Hara (foot) and tackles David Diehl (hamstring) and Shawn Andrews (back). Receivers Hakeem Nicks (leg) and Steve Smith (chest) have also been sidelined.

On Sunday, the offensive line scaled back its presnap calls and adjustments to help William Beatty at left tackle and Kevin Boothe at left guard. It worked: the Giants did not allow a sack for a fourth straight game.

With three new receivers added the past two weeks, the Giants rarely lined up in three-receiver looks. Instead, they used two tight ends or two running backs more often.

Early on, it was evident that Manning missed a big-play target like Nicks and the security of a weapon like Smith.

“You want your guys that present the best matchups against a defense, and that’s what we did,” Manning said. “I’m more comfortable with these guys than a guy that has been here for five days, and so that’s just putting us in the best position to run our offense.”

With five games to play, the Giants are in the playoff mix. They are tied atop the N.F.C. East with the Eagles, who beat the Giants a week ago in Philadelphia. The teams play again Dec. 19.

WESTBROOK HELPS ROLL Brian Westbrook rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown in place of the injured Frank Gore and the San Francisco 49ers sent Arizona to its sixth straight loss, 27-6, amid a shower of boos from the Cardinals’ home crowd.

Westbrook, who had 9 yards on five carries entering the game, rushed 23 times in his 21st career 100-yard game — his first since Dec. 7, 2008, for Philadelphia against the Giants.

San Francisco (4-7) improved to 3-1 since Troy Smith became the starting quarterback and moved to a game behind the co-leaders St. Louis and Seattle in the anemic N.F.C. West.

Arizona (3-8), the two-time defending division champion, has not lost this many in a row since dropping eight straight in 2006, Dennis Green’s final season as coach. (AP)

’ LONG-SHOT BID The Dolphins (6-5) are playing like a playoff team, even if they have a slim chance of becoming one. Against Oakland on Sunday, Miami gained 471 yards — their highest total in 15 years — and held the to 16 rushing yards — the second-lowest total by a Dolphins defense.

But Miami could fall short of a postseason berth even if it sweeps its final five games. The Dolphins have lost to the four teams they are chasing in the A.F.C. race: New England (9-2), (9-2), Baltimore (8-3) and the (8-3).

“This is back-against-the-wall time,” Coach Tony Sparano said. (AP)

STEELERS’ HARRISON LOSES APPEAL The league rejected Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison’s appeals of his $75,000 fine for a hit on Cleveland receiver Mohamed Massaquoi and the $20,000 fine for a hit on New Orleans quarterback . Harrison possibly faces another fine for his roughing-the-passer penalty Sunday against Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. (AP)

RYAN’S LONG-LOST TWIN “I never realized how similar that I am to ,” Jets Coach told reporters. “I mean, the obvious physical appearance would be the first thing. The fact that he’s married to a supermodel? Hello?”

Ryan, who was referring to the model Gisele Bündchen, then showed reporters a copy of the December issue of InStyle magazine, which includes an advertisement — for women’s apparel at — featuring Ryan’s wife, Michelle. “I’m also married to a supermodel,” Ryan said. (AP)

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