Five plays that shaped the game

November, 5, 2012
11/05/12
10:52
AM ET
Here are five plays that shaped Sunday’s 24-20 loss:

1. Don’t throw that. In the first quarter of a scoreless game, Eli Manning found Victor Cruz for a nice 26-yard gain. On the next play, though, he forced a pass into double coverage that was picked off by Ike Taylor in Pittsburgh territory. It’s a pass that Manning surely wished to have back as it seemed to be a bad choice from the moment he let it go.

2. Big swing. Lawrence Tynes had a chance to give the Giants a 17-7 lead but he came up short on a 51-yard field goal. Then with 31 seconds left in the first half, Pittsburgh drove 47 yards and scored on a chip shot to slice the lead to 14-10. Had the Giants scored on that field goal, it’s a two-score lead going into the half instead of a four-point edge.

3. Interesting calls. With the Giants up 17-10 in the third quarter, the Giants had a 1st-and-goal at the 4. After two failed runs, they faced a 3rd-and-goal and threw a fade to rookie Rueben Randle, and the pass was incomplete. With a chance to go up two scores, the Giants didn’t go to their top two receivers once, and threw to a rookie on third down. It’s a questionable choice.

4. Can't touch this. The Giants didn’t play well Sunday, but still held a 10-point lead in the fourth. On a 3rd-and-5, Mike Wallace caught a slant and the Giants secondary couldn’t catch him. Antrel Rolle took out Corey Webster has he tried to tackle, rookie Jayron Hosley perhaps took a tough angle and Prince Amukamara couldn’t get off his block to the sideline. That play changed the game.

5. Stay in the zone. The Steelers were willing to settle for a game-tying field goal -- until the Giants gave them five free yards. The Giants stopped them on a third-down run but Jayron Hosley lined up in the neutral zone. Pittsburgh then converted the third down and went on to score the go-ahead touchdown that would ultimately hand the Giants their third loss.

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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