The fourth quarter usually is the Giants' time to shine. What happened?
The Giants had three possessions in the fourth quarter, managed only 12 offensive snaps and lost a total of 8 yards on three three-and-outs. Only three of the 12 plays had positive yardage, and one was a sack of Eli Manning -- he fumbled but the ball was recovered by the Giants beyond the line of scrimmage.
Did the Giants think they could rely on the usual fourth-quarter magic?
They said they did. "I always feel confident coming out there no matter how much time is left, especially in the fourth quarter," Victor Cruz said. "I felt good." David Baas echoed that. "At the very end, we had an opportunity and didn't execute," he said. "Plain and simple."
Was it only a matter of time before Manning failed to complete a fourth-quarter comeback?
Apparently, because the last two games had them and this one didn't. "You continue to put yourself in those situations and eventually [it won't work out]," Mathias Kiwanuka said. "We know that Eli and the offense are always capable of getting us back to where we need to be, but as a defense, we have to make sure that we don't rely on them -- we don't put them in a situation where they always have to score at the end of the game."
Why did the Steelers try the fake field goal?
"I took a shot," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of the call to attempt some trickery instead of going for the tie or lead in a more traditional way. "The guys backed my play like I knew that they would and I appreciate that. They overcome bad coaching sometimes, and that's on me."
Michael Coe made the stop on that fake. Was he ready for the possibility of a fake?
Not really. "The call on that play was for me to be a contain rusher, not so much go after the field goal for a block," Coe said. "Usually I do come off the edge."
In fact, Coe said one of the Steelers later asked him why he wasn't rushing on that play.
Coe said he thought he might have had a chance to intercept the pass when holder Drew Butler flipped it to kicker Shaun Suisham. "When I saw that coming, it kind of happened so slow, I thought maybe something else was going to happen," Coe said. "[Maybe] they were going to run the option or something. Sometimes they bring a wing underneath and he'll shovel-pass it. I was just standing there playing my position."
Did the Giants use that three-safety look with Kenny Phillips that they were so hot about this week?
Well, yes and no. It turns out Phillips was inactive for a fifth straight game with his knee injury, apparently not quite ready to play even after practicing during the week. But the Giants did show some of the three-safety look with starters Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown and Tyler Sash showing up in the secondary.
Why did this feel like an Army-Navy game?
Because Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, a fierce Giants fan, and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jon Greenert, a Steelers fan, were among the military members honored before the game. They stood with players, coaches and about 150 active military members to unfurl a field-covering flag before the game. But they did not watch the game together, Odierno pointedly noted.
Anyone else honored besides the military?
Yes. About 100 first responders from superstorm Sandy were recognized. They were on the field for pregame warmups and got to meet with commissioner Roger Goodell. "It's hard to imagine what they go through," Goodell said. "Many of them didn't sleep all week dealing with this constant stress, dealing with people that are obviously going through some very difficult periods in their lives. It's just remarkable we have people like many of these folks who are volunteers, and to see that is really -- it gives new meaning to hero to me."