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#pounditTuesday, July 23, 2024

Giants horribly mismanage clock at end of loss to Patriots

Tom Couglin

The New York Giants suffered a heartbreaking loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, and some horrendous clock management was largely to blame.

It looked like the game was all but over after Eli Manning connected with Dwayne Harris on an 18-yard pass with 2:10 remaining in the fourth quarter. The completion set up 1st-and-goal from the New England 5-yard line with the Giants trailing 24-23, and the Pats had just one timeout remaining.

So what did the G-Men do? They called a pass play that was initially called a touchdown but overturned on review. Odell Beckham Jr. had the ball for a brief second before Malcolm Butler — yes, this Malcolm Butler — knocked it out of his hands. Before the pass, it looked like New England’s best option would be to let the Giants score and give Tom Brady as much time as possible to answer. But thanks to a mind-boggling play call, they didn’t need to do that.

The Beckham incompletion allowed the Patriots to preserve their final timeout. To make matters worse for the Giants, 2:01 remained on the clock. That meant two clock stoppages between the two-minute warning and New England’s third timeout.

On 2nd-and-goal, Manning threw another incompletion. He then (wisely) took a sack on 3rd down and forced the Pats to burn their last timeout, but the damage had already been done. The Giants kicked a field goal to take a 26-24 lead with 1:50 remaining.

You can guess what happened from there. With the help of a dropped interception from Giants safety Landon Collins, Brady led the Patriots down the field with just enough time for Stephen Gostkowski to kick a game-winning 54-yard field goal.

Had the Giants run the ball three times on 1st-and-goal from the 5-yard-line, their best-case scenario would have been a touchdown. The worst outcome would have been a fumble, which is unlikely. Assuming they wouldn’t have fumbled, they could have forced the Patriots to use their last timeout before the two-minute warning. If the Giants didn’t score a touchdown, they would have snapped the ball on 3rd down with 2:00 remaining and New England out of timeouts. They then could have run the clock down to about 1:20 before kicking the field goal.

Again, this all assumes the Giants would have been stuffed and not scored, which is by no means a given. Considering they have botched the ends of multiple games this season (this is probably the best example), we shouldn’t be surprised.

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