Head coach Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants looks...

Head coach Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants looks on against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium on Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Tom Coughlin said he just wanted to slow the Colts down.

"They go fast," he said. "Whenever they make a big play, they go fast . . . All of a sudden, we weren't getting lined up as fast as we should."

Which is why the coach was on the sideline groping for his challenge flag in the second quarter of Monday night's 40-24 loss to Indianapolis.

Colts tight end Coby Fleener caught a 21-yard pass with linebacker Jacquian Williams on his back, and the ball appeared to pop out as the two hit the turf. Indianapolis then snapped the ball before Coughlin could yank the red flag from his sock -- he keeps it there to avoid impulsive challenges -- and Fleener was left uncovered for a 32-yard touchdown catch.

"I would have done anything to slow them down right there, and obviously it didn't work," Coughlin said.

So why didn't he call a timeout? If he was willing to throw the flag on a challenge he said he knew he would lose -- which would have cost him a timeout -- why not just call the timeout?

"I was trying to do anything I could to stop the clock, stop the game, whatever, whether it was [an incomplete pass] or not," Coughlin said. "Did I think they didn't catch the ball? No, I felt he caught the ball."

While Coughlin was trying to stop the clock and the Colts, the defense was in disarray. It seemed as if the Giants were watching Coughlin try to grab the red flag rather than focusing on Andrew Luck.

Williams said the defense was in "chaos," although he was quick to point out that he ran back to the huddle, as he is coached to do.

"That's one on us," Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. "Everybody is waiting around, sitting around. That's definitely on us. We can't say we were unprepared for that."

"Those are things that we have to fix," Williams said. "Bring more order to our defense . . . For us, that's a big teacher. That was a big teacher game."

Later in the half, Coughlin was quick to challenge a catch by Fleener in which the tight end clearly had only one foot inbounds. By then, he had moved the challenge flag from his sock to the pocket of his windbreaker. That challenge may have been prompt, but it also was unnecessary. The ruling was changed on the field.

The game basically started and ended with red flags. The Giants' inability to challenge led to the first touchdown of the game (and the only one of the first half), and a challenge of a first down by Odell Beckham Jr. late in the fourth gave the Colts the ball on downs and sealed the victory.

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