PHILADELPHIA - Lawrence Tynes' 54-yard field-goal attempt fell just short of the crossbar in the final seconds of the Giants' 19-17 loss to the Eagles on Sunday night, but there were several points in the final half-minute of play when the Giants might have been able to shave a few yards off the attempt, or perhaps even save a few seconds to earn themselves an extra offensive play.
The Giants had the ball at the Eagles' 36 with 15 seconds left and faced the 54-yard attempt on third down. There was no time left to attempt one more play and try to bring Tynes, whose career-long kick was 53 yards, just a few steps closer to the game-winner.
"I couldn't afford to take the chance on the clock running out before we were able to spike the ball, so we went for the long field goal and it was just a little bit too long," Tom Coughlin said of the decision-making at the end of the game.
Even after the Eagles called a timeout with 15 seconds left to ice Tynes, Coughlin said that only "reinforced" his belief in kicking and not trying to grab some extra yardage.
"This is our only avenue right now," Coughlin said of his thinking.
Had the Giants had just a couple more seconds, they might have made a different decision.
"Fifteen [seconds] is right there at the edge," Eli Manning said of how long it would take to run a play and spike the ball. "To get four or five yards, [you might be able to get there]. But 15 yards down the field, it's hard to spike it."
"You'd have to throw it out of bounds [or along the sideline], and I don't know why they would let you do that," Coughlin said, anticipating that the Eagles would have guarded the sidelines had the Giants tried an extra offensive snap. "I was worried that we would make some kind of play inbounds and not have enough time to clock it."
The clock management before the attempt at the game-winning field goal wasn't the only questionable call by Coughlin. Given that the Giants had the ball at the 26 and were well within Tynes' range, the pass to Ramses Barden down the right sideline that resulted in a penalty for offensive pass interference -- pushing them back 10 yards -- might have been one too many chances down the field.
"The thought of running and then clocking the ball was a definite thought," Coughlin said of the strategy on second-and-7 from the 26 with 21 seconds left. "Quite frankly, that was what we were doing on the next snap. But it never got to that. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. When you do run like that, you're going to waste downs and then you're going to kick from that spot, which obviously would have been better than where it was, making it a 54-yarder."