The New York Giants proved to be their own worst enemy on Sunday, turning a winnable game against the Arizona Cardinals and backup quarterback Drew Stanton into a 25-14 loss that leaves them at 0-2 to start the 2014 season.
- There was a 71-yard punt return for a score by Ted Ginn that turned the game in the fourth quarter, courtesy of a missed tackle by Zack Bowman.
- There was a Quintin Demps fumble on the ensuing kickoff.
- There was Rashad Jennings fumbling without being hit, ending what could have been a game-tying drive with less than five minutes to play.
- There were two huge Victor Cruz drops, both of which would have been first downs. The first drop came on the play before Ginn's punt return touchdown.
- There was an Eli Manning interception that unfortunately bounced off the shoulder pad of an Arizona lineman before being intercepted.
The Giants lead the game, 14-13, in the fourth quarter before everything went south.
"From there it was a nightmare," said head coach Tom Coughlin.
That, incidentally, makes two weeks in a row Coughlin has used the word "nightmare" in describing how his team played.
The Giants were clinging to that aforementioned 14-13 lead Victor Cruz dropped an Eli Manning pass that would have resulted in a Giants first down with 10:36 to play. Disaster then struck for New York.
Ted Ginn of Arizona fielded a low line drive punt by Steve Weatherford at his own 29-yard line. Veteran Zack Bowman was right there, had Ginn in his grasp and could not bring him down. Ginn went 71 yards for a score with Weatherford helpless to make a stop.
Quintin Demps then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, with Arizona recovering at the Giants 21-yard line.
The Giants then drove all the way to the Cardinals' 17 and looked headed for a possible game-tying score. On second down Manning hit Rashad Jennings with a swing pass. An untouched Jennings slipped, fumbled and Arizona's Rashad Johnson recovered at the 14-yard line.
MetLife Stadium fans then headed for the exits in droves.
The Giants had a final opportunity when they took over at their own 15-yard line with 3:19 to play. A third-down drop by Rueben Randle on a deep ball that would have put the Giants out near midfield created a fourth down. An incomplete pass intended for Larry Donnell turned the ball over to Arizona, sealing the Giants' fate.
Catanzaro kicked a 33-yard field goal with 1:13 left for the final margin.
Before things went south in the final quarter, the Giants actually had taken their first lead of the season and appeared to be playing better offensively.
The Giants went 74 yards in eight plays to take a 14-10 lead with 2:03 left in the third quarter on a 1-yard pass from Manning to tight end Daniel Fells. a 25-yard pass interference penalty on Arizona's Patrick Peterson, who grabbed Victor Cruz, set the Giants up at the 1-yard line. The drive took 4:37. The score gave the Giants their first lead of the season.
The Cardinals closed to within 14-13 with 11:38 to go on a 37-yard field goal by Chandler Catanzaro.
First Half Summary
The Giants trailed, 10-7, at the end of the first half. The Cardinals took an early 10-0 lead, scoring a touchdown and field goal the first two times they had the ball.
The Giants finally got on the board in the second quarter. Taking over at their own 10-yard line the Giants drove 13 plays and 90 yards in 7:13 to get on the board with 37 seconds left in the half. The score came when Rueben Randle made a spectacular one-handed catch on a fade from Manning for a 7-yard score.
Manning was 12-of-14 for 135 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the first half. The interception was a ball that bounced off the shoulder pad of an Arizona lineman.
Eli Manning completed 26-of-39 passes for 277 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Jennings carried 17 times for 51 yards.
Donnell caught seven passes for 81 yards. Cruz had five catches for 60 yards and Randle had four catches for 39 yards and one touchdown.
The Giants host the Houston Texans Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at MetLife Stadium.
Stay tuned for much more after a visit to the Giants locker room.