Giants record: 6-5
This time last year: 7-4
Time of game: 3:05
Stat worth noting: Tennessee was only a combined four-for-14 on third- and fourth-down conversions, including only three-of-10 on third downs.
Stat worth noting II: After New York hogged the ball for more than 12 minutes in the third quarter, Tennessee had a 9:29-5:31 time of possession edge in the final, fatal period.
Turning point: While the Giants gave this one away on so many levels at so many different times, had Mathias Kiwanuka wrapped up Vince Young on fourth-and-10 with less than three minutes to play, New York would have held on. Fearing a 15-yard penalty, Kiwanuka let go of the elusive Young, who scrambled 19 yards to set up the Titans game-tying TD.
Play to remember: Antonio Pierce made a great play on the goal line, denying Titans QB Vince Young on a fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line. Carlos Emmons provided support as New York kept Young from crossing the goal line. Tennessee was looking to finally get on the board but was denied after they marched all the way from their own 31-yard line.
Play to forget: For as bad as Eli Manning’s first interception was, his second flat-out cost the Giants the game. With less than 30 seconds to play from New York’s 28-yard line, a scrambling Manning lofted a pass down the right sideline towards David Tyree. The underthrown ball never got there. Pacman Jones tipped it to himself, brought it in at the Giants 49 and set up the game-winning field goal.
3 – Consecutive losses for Big Blue as they head into their showdown with Dallas.
38:05 – The amount of time New York went scoreless after opening up a 21-0 lead.
44 – Seconds left when the Titans tied the game. Vince Young calmly, coolly hung in the pocket and delivered a perfect pass to Brandon Jones to forge the tie.
“It’s a terrible shock to everyone in the organization. For everybody. There’s no excuse. There’s no sympathy. There’s no nothing.” – Giants coach Tom Coughlin
“I guess we just turned on a light switch. The Giants came out and jumped on top of us, but we finally made a comeback like we were supposed to do.” – Titans WR Brandon Jones
What went right
The first three quarters. New York played exactly like it wanted to – until the fateful fourth quarter when the wheels came off.
After a three-and-out to start the game, Big Blue benefited from a Tennessee mistake. Reggie Torbor forced Travis Henry to fumble and Gibril Wilson recovered near midfield. New York then went on a nine-play, 52-yard march to take a 7-0 lead. After Brandon Jacobs was stuffed on second-and-goal, Manning found Plaxico Burress for a three-yard TD.
Early in the second quarter, the Giants received another Titans gift when Henry couldn’t handle the handoff and coughed up the ball, which was recovered by Fred Robbins at the Tennessee 29-yard line. Seven plays later New York was sitting on a 21-0 cushion.
New York put together a clock-chewing drive in the third quarter. While the drive didn’t garner any points, they ran 11 plays and milked the final 7:53 off the third-quarter clock in the process. With a three-TD lead at that point, Tom Coughlin couldn’t have asked for much more.
What went wrong
It was a tale of two games – and two QBs. Eli Manning was picture perfect for the first three quarters and then reverted to his more recent version in the fourth, throwing two ill-advised INTs. On the flip side, Vince Young didn’t show much until the final period, when he took over with both his arm and legs.
Tiki Barber was able to gain 82 rushing yards, but his average was a very modest 3.3 yards per tote and his long run of the day gained only nine yards. The Giants had ample opportunities to salt this one away with the run game and couldn’t do it.
The Giants failed to convert a fourth-and-three on the first play of the fourth quarter when Eli Manning’s pass was batted away by Cortland Finnegan. At the time it seemed harmless, but a first down and score there very well would have salted the game away.
New York lost its discipline as the game wore on. Both LB Chris Claiborne and CB Frank Walker were flagged 15 yards for unnecessary roughness calls. Walker’s penalty directly led to Tennessee’s first touchdown.