Philip Rivers and Justin Tuck have played each other three times in their careers: twice in the NFL and once when Rivers and North Carolina State defeated Tuck and Notre Dame in the 2003 Gator Bowl.
San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers appears to have Justin Tuck’s number.
Rivers heads into Sunday’s game against the Giants with a 3-0 all-time record against Tuck, defeating him twice in the NFL (2005, 2009) and once in college in the 2003 Gator Bowl. And in two professional meetings, Tuck has never sacked Rivers.
As a senior in that Gator Bowl, Rivers won MVP honors by throwing for 228 yards and two touchdowns and led his North Carolina State Wolfpack team past Tuck and Notre Dame, 28-6. Tuck, a sophomore, didn’t start that game but saw the field as a primary backup.
“I know Tuck,” Rivers said to the New York media on Wednesday. “I was going against him and Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl way back in ’02-’03, so he’s had a heck of a run there… (in New York)”
Following that game Rivers declared for the NFL Draft and was selected fourth overall by the Giants and traded to the Chargers. The Giants selected Tuck two years later in the third round of the 2005 draft after he’d become Notre Dame’s all-time sack leader (23.5)
Tuck had just nine sacks in his previous two seasons with the Giants but recorded four in the team’s Week 13 victory over Washington, earning the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Week award. He has 6.5 sacks on the season, his most since picking up 11.5 in 2010.
But sometimes, good or bad, the numbers can be misleading.
“There was a lot said about him and two and a half sacks or whatever and then he goes out and has four in a game,” Rivers said. “I think really the stats and the numbers are more for the newspapers and just to talk about and see the stats and this and that. I think, as players, we turn on the tape and just because (there aren’t) sacks doesn’t mean they aren’t pressuring and they aren’t really good rushers and they haven’t been playing well.”
Coach Tom Coughlin reiterated — he’s been close and the numbers aren’t everything.
“He’s been one of those guys that I’ve referenced when I talked about if we got credit for the sacks that we’ve kid of missed or whatever he’s one of the guys that I would include there. To have six and a half sacks, to play the way he’s played, to move in over the guard at times, to start out outside at tomes, I think he played a solid game (against Washington) and now we can hopefully expect that he’ll do the same for the remainder of the season.”
Tags: 2003 Gator Bowl, Justin Tuck, Notre Dame, Philip Rivers, Tom Coughlin
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