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Cowboys 27, Giants 26, Instant Analysis: Manning, Coughlin mismanage end of game

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Poor clock management at end of game costly for Giants.

The New York Giants had Sunday night's game in their hands, and messed it up. Head coach Tom Coughlin knows they screwed up the final two minutes. Quarterback Eli Manning knows it, too. Let's talk about the play.

The Giants faced third-and-one at the Dallas 1-yard line with 1:43 left and the Cowboys having no timeouts. Rather than run the ball, guaranteeing that they would take 40 or so seconds off the clock if they didn't score, they chose to pass. Manning did the one thing that he couldn't do, throwing an incomplete pass that stopped the clock, led to a field goal and gave Tony Romo and the Cowboys 1:34 to win the game. Which they did.

Coughlin fell on his sword for the Ben McAdoo play call.

"Bad decision on my part. Nobody to blame but me," Coughlin said. "The strategy was obviously wrong at the end."

Quarterback Eli Manning was taking the blame himself.

"100 percent on me right there," Manning said. "Bad clock management for that whole deal. I had an option to take the sack, run those 40 seconds off the clock and give them less time.

"That's 100 percent on me. It can't happen."

It did happen, though, to a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback in his 12th season. Consequently, the Giants lost a game that was there for them to win.

Both coach and quarterback are probably to blame here. The coach didn't make the play call, but he knew what it was. He had the option of calling timeout (the clock wasn't running, anyway) and overruling. Or, at least reminding the quarterback to take the sack and keep the clock running if it wasn't there.

Manning needs to know better, even without the reminder from his coach.

"I've gotta know that, gotta know the circumstance," Manning said.

Coughlin knows the Giants should be 1-0 instead of 0-1, and that you don't get these chances back.

"They shouldn't have had the time to do that (drive to win the game) had we don it properly," Coughlin said. "The game should have been handled in a different way at the end."

What else did we learn?

  • The defense did OK. There wasn't any pass rush to speak of, but the Giants covered well and created three turnovers. There are things there to feel good about.
  • Over the past few years Romo always seems to find the matchup at the end of games he can take take advantage of. He found that in Uani' Unga at the end of the game. Unga played an excellent game, until Romo picked on him during the final drive.
  • The offensive line did a good job, particularly in run blocking. Ereck Flowers got banged up in the first half, but showed some toughness and some poise.