Osi Umenyiora celebrates after a tackle against the Green Bay...

Osi Umenyiora celebrates after a tackle against the Green Bay Packers. (Jan. 15, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

There are times when Tom Coughlin has to yell at Osi Umenyiora in practice.

Is the coach trying to motivate the defensive end who is sometimes portrayed as a malcontent? No. If anything, Coughlin said, he has to get Umenyiora to slow down.

"He is always going 100 percent," Coughlin said. "Sometimes you have to say 'Osi!' because he goes too hard. The way in which he practices is the way in which he plays. He is always, always looking to make a play."

He did it with two sacks against Aaron Rodgers -- one of them forcing a fumble -- and a sack the week earlier against Matt Ryan. He's missed seven games with injuries to his knee and ankle this season, but he has 12 sacks.

"I've been preaching this all year: Osi is definitely in a league of his own," Antrel Rolle said. "I think he is a unique kind of guy. Not only does he rush the passer, but he gets you the ball. There is no replacing that."

Umenyiora's season began with him looking for a trade or a new contract. He got neither.

"I put it behind me," Umenyiora said. "We'll take care of business later. Now it's time to focus on football."

No more nail-biters

Giant steps

Eli Manning and Alex Smith will be only the second pair of No. 1 overall picks to be the starting quarterbacks in a conference championship since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. The only other time was in the 1998 AFC title game (13 years ago Tuesday) between John Elway of the Broncos and Vinny Testaverde of the Jets . . . Sunday's Giants-Packers game was the most-viewed divisional-round playoff game on record, averaging 45.1 million viewers. Its rating, which measures the percentage of households watching, was 25.3, the best for a divisional-round game since 1997.

With Neil Best

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