New York Giants: cole beasley

This week, we'll be taking a look at five moments that shaped the New York Giants' disappointing 2013 season. I chose the word "moments" in order to be intentionally broad. For our purposes, a "moment" could be a play, a series of plays, an injury... any number of things. Vague is the way to go on these types of projects, and I think that's for the best. We'll also do them in reverse order, so No. 1 will be Friday. Now, without further ado...

No. 5: Tony Romo ends the dream

I resisted, but faithful Giants fans, the state of the division and actual math did in fact keep the Giants' hopes of reaching the playoffs alive in spite of their 0-6 start. They won four in a row to move within a game of the second-place Cowboys and a game and a half of the first-place Eagles. When Dallas rolled into MetLife Stadium on Nov. 24, the Giants had a legitimate opportunity to move within a game of first place with a win. And when they finished erasing a 15-point second-half deficit and tied the game with 4:45 to go, the frozen home crowd was as fired up as it would be at any point in the season.

But it was not to be. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo led Dallas on a 14-play, 64-yard drive that sapped all of the remaining time off the clock and set reliable Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey up for a game-winning 35-yard field goal. Romo completed three third-down passes on the drive, the last one to Cole Beasley with 1:17 to go to move the ball from the Giants' 28 to the Giants' 15. Had that pass not been completed, Bailey's attempt to win the game would have been from a far less certain 45 yards and, even if successful, would have given the ball back to Eli Manning and the Giants with at least some time left on the clock to get themselves into range for a game-tying field goal.

Instead, the Giants fell to 4-7, two full games behind the eventual division champion Eagles and the Cowboys, against whom they were 0-2. With almost no chance to win any tiebreakers, trailing two teams by two games with five to play effectively ended the Giants' hopes for a miracle comeback. They would be officially eliminated from postseason contention two weeks later with a loss in San Diego.

Drive of the Game: Cowboys end the dream

November, 25, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- After the New York Giants' touchdown and two-point conversion tied the game at 21-21, and Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys got the ball at their own 20-yard line with 4:45 left in the game, there was surely a segment of the football-watching populace that was expecting Romo to make a mistake that cost his team the game. The Giants were not part of that segment.

"Romo's a good quarterback," Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said. "And he showed that again today."

Romo would convert three third downs on the final drive of Sunday's game, moving the ball all the way to the Giants' 16-yard line and setting up Dan Bailey for the game-winning field goal as time expired. It was a 14-play drive that covered 64 yards and likely ended all of the Giants' remaining hopes of recovering from their 0-6 start to make the playoffs.

Tuck said after the game that he was surprised the Giants' defense played coverage on the final drive rather than trying to pressure Romo. Especially with starting cornerback Trumaine McBride out with a groin injury and Antrel Rolle rolling all over the place in and out of different positions, the Giants seemed vulnerable back there. And Romo seemed to know that. Instead of running the ball to bleed the clock once the Cowboys got into field-goal range, Romo threw it twice to get closer. On second-and-10 from the 28, he threw deep down the middle to Dez Bryant, who appeared to catch the ball only to have it pop out as he hit the ground. The pass was ruled incomplete, but Romo went right back deep to Cole Beasley on third-and-10, connecting for 13 yards. A couple of kneel-downs got the clock down to four seconds, and Bailey was true from 35 yards to seal the win as time ran out.