Hosley's rookie mistake a big game changer

November, 4, 2012
11/04/12
10:48
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- As Jayron Hosley dressed after Sunday’s 24-20 loss to the Steelers, Giants general manager Jerry Reese stopped by to offer some reassuring words to the struggling rookie.

“He said 'We need you. Just keep stepping up,' basically,” Hosley said.

The third-round pick had another tough game as he had a pivotal penalty and allowed a huge first down that helped the Steelers wrap up the game. The Giants are asking a lot of the rookie nickel corner and he’s had troubles the last two games against strong passing teams.

“It’s only tough if you make it,” Hosley said. “It’s the NFL, it’s going to be tough, but it’s an adjustment. Every week is a learning process and you have to take each week and learn different things. Each week is going to teach you something different.”

The Giants have placed tremendous faith in the rookie, using him as the team’s nickel corner as safety Kenny Phillips continues to be sidelined with his knee sprain. Hosley had been playing well early in the year, but has hit a bit of a rough patch lately against top quarterbacks.

Last week, Dallas picked on Hosley with Miles Austin and the veteran caught plenty of balls and drew several flags late in the game. Entering the game, the rookie talked of wanting to work on his hands after being flagged for illegal contact against the Cowboys.

Sunday, Hosley made a huge mistake that changed the whole complexion of the game. With the Giants up 20-17 in the fourth quarter and Pittsburgh facing a 3rd-and-7 at the Giants’ 14-yard line, Hosley lined up in the neutral zone to give Pittsburgh five free yards. The Giants had stopped Pittsburgh on the play, but Hosley’s mistake gave the Steelers new life and they eventually scored the game-winning touchdown.

“Just being aware,” Hosley said of correcting his mistake. “Kind of so into the game at that time and just not keying in and checking to see if I was good. Just have to be me more aware. That’s it.”

After that touchdown, the Giants had a chance to get the ball back to the offense after forcing Pittsburgh into a 3rd-and-9 at its own 29. Hosley lined up against Emmanuel Sanders and lost the battle, allowing a 16-yard reception that all but sealed the Giants fate. The Giants never got the ball back and lost a game in which they once held a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.

Hosley finished with one tackle and one forced fumble that the Giants couldn't recover.

“It was man coverage. It seemed like they knew what we were in,” Hosley said. “He made the play and I didn’t. He kind of pushed off, but at the same time I guess he waited for me to make my move and played off me. Ended up finding an area to sit down and catch a pass.”

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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