One again, Manning turned to the big play, finding Ramses Barden for 41 yards and then Domenik Hixon for 41 on consecutive plays to drive down the field to set up first and goal. Then he found tight end Bear Pascoe wide open in shallow coverage for the touchdown to take their first, and only lead of the night, 17-16.
The defense, however, struggled to put the game away for Manning and the offense. On first down, Jackson beat Webster for a 19 yard reception. Then McCoy ran for another 15 yards on the same play that worked all of the 2nd half to get the ball across midfield.
Before long, the Eagles had first and goal from the 8 with 2 and a half minutes remaining. Two carries got the ball down to the 2 yard line, but on 3rd down, Vick opted to take a sack rather than attempt a pass that would stop the clock. With 1:49 remaining, Alex Henery gave the Eagles a 19-17 lead, and the Eagles one last chance to win.
The final drive of the game could be said to be somewhat controversial, with the newly restored union referees playing a major role. 3 big pass interference calls—two on the defense and one on the offense—dictated the momentum of the final two minutes of the game.
The first one came on a 4th and one play that would have ended the game. Manning targeted Barden deep, but Rodgers-Cromartie was flagged for the penalty. Later, on third and 10, it was Asomugha called for the penalty, which gave the Giants the ball on the Eagles’ 27 yard line.
Then on 2nd and 9, Barden was called for the pass interference on Asomugha. One could argue that both players guilty of the infraction on the play, as Asomugha intentionally backed into Barden to knock him out of the play, while Barden went over the top of the corner.
Nonetheless, the penalty back the Giants up to the 36 yard line, and after an incomplete pass deep to Hixon left the Giants with a 3rd down and no timeouts with 15 seconds on the clock, Tom Coughlin opted to attempt the field goal rather than to run a play to try to get the ball closer.
No doubt the debate will rage on sports radio in the tri-state area throughout the week: should Coughlin have run a play on 3rd down? The argument in favor is strong; after all, the field goal was from 54 yards, and Tynes’ career long is 53 yards. The matter, however, is now history, and history always favors the victors. And the victors—the Eagles—are 8-1 against the defending Super Bowl champions in their last 9 match-ups. They now sit atop the division at 3-1 while the Giants look to regroup after falling to .500.
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