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"I've been informed you threw for 30 yards," Perkins said, straight-faced.
"Pretty good passing game, huh?" the rookie said, feeling all his parts to make sure they were in working order.
When he got to Taylor's locker, Perkins lingered for a while. Taylor was the unchartable element in the game. He had never run the way he did Sunday; he had 33 carries for 148 yards, which tripled his total output in the first five games.
The Giant defense usually starts a game playing tough, but sooner or later it cracks because the offense doesn't give it enough breathing time. On Sunday the defense—mainly Perkins' hated 3-4 alignment—got help from the offense, and it hung in and shut down the Bucs' runners. On passing downs the Giants, rushing three men, kept Quarterback Doug Williams' percentage low (14-for-38) and his interceptions high (three).
Taylor made the offense-defense equation work, and when Perkins reached his locker, he gripped his hand for a moment and, among other things, thanked him "for the sacrifice you made for the team today."
Someone asked Perkins what else he had said to Taylor.
"Coach-player talk," Perkins said.
"How does your first win feel?" he was asked.
"Like it's supposed to—good. Like it's about time."
Someone asked him about the way Williams had scattered his passes, and for the first time Perkins smiled.