What a difference a week makes for Ramses Barden
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PHILADELPHIA - For the second straight week, Ramses Barden stood in front of a group of reporters anxious to talk to him about the role he played in the game that had just ended.
Barden was flagged for offensive pass interference against Nnamdi Asomugha with 21 seconds left in the game, a penalty that pushed the Giants back 10 yards and turned a potential game-winning 44-yard field- goal attempt into a 54-yarder that came up a yard short.
"He had decent position," Barden said. "I'm trying to make the play, but I guess I had my arm around him."
He certainly did. Asomugha had inside position and basically had Barden boxed out. The only way the receiver could get to the ball was to go through the cornerback, and that's what he seemed to be trying to do.
Barden had drawn two penalties for defensive pass interference on the drive -- one against Asomugha and one against Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for a total of 29 penalty yards -- to help bring the Giants within field-goal range. When the flags came flying on that third penalized play of the drive, Barden was hoping for another such call.
"I thought it was on him," Barden said.
Tom Coughlin figured it wasn't.
"He's trying to make a play," Coughlin said of Barden. "The defender was in very good position. I was worried when the flag came out how that was going to be called. It's a tough call. It's a tough situation. He's got to go make a play on the ball anyway."
That's what Barden said he was doing.
"I'm trying to get to the ball, I'm trying to break up an interception . . . I want to be the one to make the play, nobody else," he said. "Nobody on defense, at least."
Barden wasn't the only receiver to whom Eli Manning could have thrown the ball.
"We had options on either side of the field and Eli decided to take the X receiver and it didn't work out," Coughlin said. "We tried what we thought were safe calls."
Manning, who has led 21 regular-season fourth-quarter comebacks in his career, said he didn't make a bad choice but made a bad pass that was short and into Asomugha's coverage. "It was not a good throw by me," he said.
Ultimately, though, it came down to Barden, who was hailed as a hidden gem a week ago. But this time he was the reason the Giants were pushed back 10 yards on the potential game-winning kick.
"It was one of those things where when it happened, you just shake your head because you're right back where you started from," Coughlin said. "The only thing I can say is that the pass interference was the worst thing that could have happened. If the pass is incomplete, we're still OK because of where the ball is. The worst thing that could happen was that, and it did happen . . . And here we sit."