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Giants doomed by late miscues

New York Giants' Eli Manning passes during the

New York Giants' Eli Manning passes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. Credit: AP / Matt Rourke

How quickly did the game unravel for the Giants?

The final 37 seconds of play were pockmarked with mistakes, errors and misses, and had the Giants avoided any one of them, they might have been able to send the game to overtime. Instead, they culminated in the Giants’ 27-24 loss to the Eagles on a last-second 61-yard field goal.

The troubles began when left tackle Ereck Flowers was flagged for back-to-back penalties, one for an illegal shift (not his fault) and one for holding. That set the Giants back with a second-and-18 at their 17. Then Manning hit Shane Vereen with a short pass and the running back ran out of bounds to stop the clock with 28 seconds left. On third-and-15 from the 20, Manning hit Evan Engram for a gain of about 14 1⁄2 yards. The Eagles called timeout with 19 seconds left and forced the Giants to punt.

What happened on the punt?

Brad Wing shanked a 28-yarder that went out of bounds. “It’s all on me,” he said. “I was trying to put it in play for our guys to go make a tackle. I just mis-hit it.” That set up the Eagles at the Philadelphia 38 with 13 seconds remaining. Carson Wentz threw an incomplete pass and then, with seven seconds left, connected with Alshon Jeffery on a 19-yard gain. He went out of bounds at the Giants’ 43 with one second left.

How could the Giants allow that to happen?

Cornerback Eli Apple thought he was going to intercept the pass. He even played off Jeffery a bit to force Wentz to throw it there, and he had a bead on it. “Next thing I know, I got hit,” he said of a collision with fellow cornerback Janoris Jenkins that bumped him off the pass. “You know the rest.”

Jenkins said of the play: “We knew it was coming. We just have to react faster to what we see.”

Were the closing seconds of the first half as debilitating to the Giants as those at the end of the game?

Sure. In fact, the Giants thought they had two touchdowns there but came away without any points.

Sterling Shepard caught a pass at the pylon with 29 seconds left that initially was ruled a touchdown, but replay showed his left heel went out of bounds at what referee Jerome Boger called “the half-inch-yard line.”

“I wish I could have that back. I probably would have just fell back in the end zone, but I thought I got in,” Shepard said.

On the next play, Manning again hit Shepard, this time on the other side of the field, and although he got both feet down inbounds with control of the ball, it slipped from his hands when he hit the ground beyond the end zone.

Why wasn’t that a touchdown, then? Because of the way the NFL defines a catch.

“I thought it was a touchdown because I knew I caught it and I knew I got my feet in,” Shepard said. After looking at it, though, he understood why it did not count as one. “It’s a continuation,’’ he said. “You have to keep it in your possession. With the new rule, you have to get up with the ball.”

The Giants then tried to run it in on fourth-and goal but were stuffed.

What happened to Olivier Vernon’s ankle?

“Friendly fire,” he said of having it injured in the second half. He continued to play on it for a while but had to leave the game midway through the fourth quarter. X-rays were negative, but he will have further tests today to determine the severity of the injury.

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