N.Y. Giants News: Did Tom Coughlin Escape a Major Mistake in the Fourth Quarter?

 
on September 16 2012 8:11 PM

With under one minute remaining in the game, the New York Giants had possession of the ball on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' two-yard line and decided to run the ball in the end zone, to take the lead, 41-34.

Though it seemed like a smart move to go ahead with a touchdown on second down with one yard to go, the Giants kept time on the clock for the Buccaneers to come back.

And the Buccaneers almost did.

The Giants handed the ball off to Andre Brown on two consecutive plays following a New York time out with 1:20 remaining. The first play resulted in Brown rushing the ball nine yards, and intentionally going down to keep the clock running.

The Buccaneers may have been wise to drag Brown into the end zone and concede the points, simply to stop the clock since they only had one time out remaining.

On the ensuing play, the Giants elected to run the ball again, instead of taking a knee and forcing the Bucs to call time out. The Giants handed the ball off to Brown again, and this time he scored.

Had the Giants taken a knee they would have taken more time off the clock and force Tampa Bay to use their last time out. Lawrence Tynes would have had an easy kick without wind from about 20 yards, which is basically automatic for every NFL placekicker.

There was enough time for the Bucs to move the ball up field. The kick return by D.J. Ware was returned to the Bucs' 36-yard line, putting Tampa Bay 64 yards away from the end zone. Quarterback Josh Freeman then completed a long pass to Vincent Jackson to get Tampa Bay to the Giants' 45 yard line and out of bounds to stop the clock.

On the following play, Freeman found wide receiver Mike Williams on a deep reception at the Giants' 16-yard line. On a questionable call, the play was reversed, as the replacement officials ruled that Williams did not make the catch, though replays revealed that Williams may have in fact made the completion.

Had the call on the field been upheld, the Giants' defense, which had conceded 243 passing yards and two touchdown passes to Freeman, would have had to stop Tampa Bay in the red zone with downs not a factor.

Had the Giants taken a knee and kicked a field goal, head coach Tom Coughlin would likely have avoided such a precarious situation.

They also would have avoided a large number of questions as to how they manage the clock.

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