The New York Giants kicked off their Super Bowl title defense with – what else? – defense.
Playing without Pro Bowl linemen Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora, the defense limited the new-look Washington Redskins to 11 first downs and 209 total yards during a 16-7 victory that ushered in the NFL season on Thursday night at East Rutherford, N.J.
Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, Plaxico Burress and the rest of the offense that started the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots also came up big in spoiling the debut of Redskins coach Jim Zorn and his West Coast offense.
Manning capped a game-opening 84-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run and recently signed John Carney kicked three field goals as the Giants scored on their first four possessions in posting a rare home win. They won their final 11 away from Giants Stadium in capturing their third Super Bowl, but they were 3-5 at home, losing the last four games.
•Super Bowl hero Burress is going to be paid like one of the NFL’s top receivers.
Hours before the Giants kicked off the season against the Redskins, Burress signed a two-year contract extension that will bump his salary into the $7 million range over the next five years. The deal includes $11 million in guaranteed money that will be paid this season.
Hola, Ocho Cinco
Call him Ocho Cinco on the field, too.
The NFL decided to recognize receiver Chad Johnson’s legal name change to Chad Ocho Cinco. The new name will be on the back of his Cincinnati Bengals uniform for the season opener in Baltimore on Sunday.
The receiver had his name changed in his home state of Florida last week. It’s a reference to his uniform number – Ocho Cinco means “eight five” in Spanish. When the NFL celebrated Hispanic Heritage month in 2006, he wore it on the back of his uniform for pregame warmups, but had to remove it for the game because of NFL rules – it wasn’t his real name.
The Pro Bowl receiver asked the media to start calling him by his new name this week.
Around the league
For the first time since the 2005 Super Bowl, Tom Brady was not listed on a New England Patriots practice participation or injury report, a sign that he is ready to start Sunday’s season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. The quarterback, last season’s NFL MVP, had a right foot injury and missed all four exhibition games. … Buffalo Bills starting linebacker Angelo Crowell was placed on season-ending injured reserve in a surprise move that came after the player elected to have surgery on his left knee. … The Baltimore Ravens agreed to terms with former Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Willie Anderson on a three-year, $11 million contract.