Shutdown Corner

Final minute of Giants-Eagles gives everyone something to debate

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

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(Associated Press)

The Giants and Eagles could have played just the final minute of Sunday night's game, because that minute will give everyone enough to talk about until next week.

Where to begin? The ticky-tack pass interference calls, one on each side? How about questionable decisions from both coaches, including the continuation of the inane icing the kicker strategy that almost made Andy Reid the most second-guessed man in America?

The teams were already engaged in a thrilling game when Philadelphia kicked a field goal to grab a 19-17 lead with 1:49 left (actually, the questionable coaching probably goes back to Reid's decisions to run with Bryce Brown and not LeSean McCoy on second down, then running a give-up play on third down to settle for the field goal).

Then, the fireworks really started. On fourth down and 1, Philadelphia cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was called for a pass interference penalty, allowing New York's drive to continue. That call seemed justified. The next two were far more controversial.

[Related: RG3's equipment malfunction ... or sabotage?]

On third-and-10, Eli Manning threw incomplete, but Philadelphia cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was called for pass interference. From whatever angle the replay was shown, it was tough to see a foul serious enough to draw a flag. NBC's Cris Collinsworth just kept groaning and repeating that he wouldn't have called it. Welcome back, regular officials.

Was the next call on Giants receiver Ramses Barden a makeup call? Perhaps. On a deep pass downfield — which was a curious call because the Giants were already in line for a 44-yard field goal, but we'll get to Tom Coughlin in a second — Barden was all over Asomugha. Still, it isn't a call that gets made too often. The flag on Barden put the Giants back 10 yards.

After an incompletion, things really started to get strange.

First, Coughlin decided to attempt a 54-yard field goal on third down with 15 seconds left. He had no timeouts left, but a sideline route could have gotten Lawrence Tynes closer. A completion in bounds wouldn't preclude the Giants from running on the field-goal team. But Coughlin played it safe.

Tynes missed, the Philadelphia crowd started going crazy — oh, but wait. In 2009, Mike Shanahan called a timeout just before Sebastian Janikowski made a field goal. Janikowski missed the follow-up attempt, spawning a craze of coaches calling a timeout a moment before a kicker tries a field goal, despite no evidence it works (last week Miami coach Joe Philbin nullified a blocked field goal in overtime by his team, a particularly embarrassing example of the strategy). Reid had done the same to try and ice Tynes. The miss didn't count. Tynes got to try again.

Tynes was at the absolute edge of his range and his retry was just short, meaning Barden's pass interference penalty cost the Giants immensely. So did Coughlin's decision to play it safe on third down and kick. Reid's timeout went from a full-blown controversy in Philadelphia to a footnote in the Eagles' win, which moved them to 3-1.

Hope that was enough late Sunday night excitement for everyone.

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