The Giants could not complete Eli Manning's 22nd career fourth-quarter comeback with a game-winning field goal attempt. Maybe asking him to do it twice was the problem.
Manning drove the Giants right to the cusp of Lawrence Tynes' range -- actually he was there comfortably and then pushed back because of a penalty -- but on the possession prior to that he drove the Giants 83 yards in five plays to give them a 17-16 lead on a touchdown pass to Bear Pascoe. It was the Giants' first and only lead of the game, but the defense could not make it stand.
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On paper, in some ways, the Giants actually made a stand while allowing what turned out to be the winning points. For the second time in the game they were able to face a first-and-goal situation and force a field goal and not a touchdown. This time, though, they were fighting both the clock and the Eagles from scoring.
The Eagles' drive took 4:56, and the Giants had to use their two remaining timeouts inside the two-minute warning to leave themselves with time to try to mount a comeback. Another comeback.
"The thing that's difficult there is obvious: We had to take the timeouts at the other end of the field," Tom Coughlin said of the Giants' final drive and the way they had to manage the clock and yardage.
On the Eagles' final drive, they ran 12 plays and the clock automatically stopped on only two of them (a pass to Jeremy Maclin in which he was pushed out of bounds and a 13-yard scramble by Michael Vick in which he went out of bounds). The three other clock stops all came from the Giants' two timeouts and the two-minute warning. The Eagles did not face a third down on the drive until the end.
The drive started at the Eagles' 17 and the first play was the longest, a 19-yard pass to DeSean Jackson. Then the Eagles started methodically running the ball. LeSean McCoy had 32 yards on five carries in the drive (he had 121 of his 123 rushing yards in the second half). Vick scrambled for another 13. He completed two other passes.
Vick even took a sack, running to his left and sliding for a 6-yard loss on third-and-goal from the 2, in order to force the Giants to burn their final timeout before Alex Henery's 26-yard field goal that gave them the 19-17 lead and eventual win.
"That's the situation we want to be in," Rolle said of having the lead in the game with the defense on the field. "We kept them out of the end zone, but they were able to keep the drive going and keep the clock running and then go out and kick the field goal and get the lead. That's unsatisfactory on our part and it's something that we definitely need to clean up . . . We just have to do a better job of getting the guys off the field."