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Coughlin OK With Criticism

East Rutherford, n.j. — Being 0-4 for the second time in his coaching career hasn’t cost Tom Coughlin his sense of humor.

The two-time Super-Bowl winning leader of the New York Giants was ready Monday when asked about receiver Victor Cruz’s postgame criticism of his decision to punt one day earlier on fourth-and-less than a yard from the New York 30 with the team down 10-7.

The ensuing punt was returned 89 yards for a touchdown by Dexter McCluster, and the Chiefs never looked back in a 31-7 win on Sunday.

Coughlin downplayed the criticism as frustration and said he challenged his best receiver on Monday to duke it out.

“I gave him a chance to say something today, and I won’t tell you what we said,” Coughlin quipped. “I asked him if he wanted to fight.”

Cruz wasn’t in the locker room Monday to discuss the playful exchange.

“That’s between he and I, but it was in good humor,” Coughlin said. “I didn’t ask him what his thinking was. I don’t understand why you guys are making so much out of something like that. It’s kind of comical.”

The punt return came one play after Cruz came up about 2 feet short of a first down on a third and 17. The officials originally marked the ball at the Giants 31 and ruled a first down. Chiefs coach Andy Reid challenged the spot, and the call was overturned.

Coughlin didn’t hesitate to punt.

After the game, Cruz had complained the Giants needed to take a risk and make something happen down late in the third and sporting an 0-3 record.

Titans QB Needs More Tests

Nashville, Tenn. — Coach Mike Munchak says quarterback Jake Locker needs more tests on his injured hip and he doesn’t know how long the QB will be out.

The coach said Monday that Locker will have another MRI exam today to diagnose the extent of the injury, giving the Titans a better idea of when he can return. Munchak also says any reports on how much time Locker will miss is simply guessing now.

Monday’s Game

Saints 38, Dolphins 17

New Orleans — Drew Brees passed for 413 yards and four touchdowns, and the New Orleans Saints turned a clash of unbeaten teams into a lopsided affair, beating the Miami Dolphins.

Two of Brees’ touchdowns went to Jimmy Graham for 27 and 43 yards as the tight end had at least 100 yards receiving for the third straight game.

Brees’ other scoring strikes went to Benjamin Watson and Darren Sproles, who also rushed for a touchdown.

Sproles’ 5-yard scoring run on the game’s opening series gave the Saints a lead they would not relinquish en route to their first 4-0 start since their Super Bowl championship season of 2009.

Ryan Tannehill passed for 249 yards and a touchdown to Charles Clay, but his four turnovers on a fumble and three interceptions hurt Miami (3-1).


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org