- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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The fourth-down call: The initial call was first down -- that the Giants had converted a third-and-17 with a pass from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz over the middle. But the Chiefs challenged the call and won, which brought up fourth down and less than a yard to go for the Giants on their own 30-yard line. With 1:55 left in the third quarter and the Giants trailing just 10-7, Giants coach Tom Coughlin decided to punt instead of going for it. "If I would have gone for it on fourth down and didn't make it at that point in the game, it would have been a foolish error," Coughlin said, and he was right. He'd effectively have been handing the Chiefs at least three points. But it says a lot about where the Giants are with their offense, making Coughlin's call the obvious and easy decision. Coughlin talked about the offense being unable to get into a rhythm, and perhaps if he felt it was, he'd make a different call there. But given how tough it's been for the Giants to gain yards, this was an easy decision. It just looked really bad when Dexter McCluster ran the punt back 89 yards for a touchdown.
On a related note: Earlier in the third quarter, the Giants had a third-and-1 at their own 45 and called a play on which running back David Wilson bounced out to the right behind three tight ends. But none of the tight ends could make a single block to free Wilson, who was tackled for no gain, and the Giants had to punt then too. Just another example of an offense that has no reason to feel it can get a yard when it needs to get one. The Giants were 1-for-14 on third downs.
Looks like a misprint, but isn't: The official stat sheet shows the Giants 0-for-0 on red zone attempts, and it's true. They didn't run a single play that began inside the Chiefs' 20-yard line. Other than Cruz's 69-yard touchdown catch, the closest they got to the end zone all day was the 26, from which Josh Brown missed a field goal at the end of the first half. Only eight of the Giants' 61 offensive snaps came in Kansas City territory.
How about the defense? The Giants did force three turnovers from a Chiefs team that had none in the first three weeks. But where's the pressure? Their one "sack" was a Spencer Paysinger tackle of Alex Smith at the line of scrimmage on a Smith scramble. They hit Smith just three times all game. Jason Pierre-Paul has one sack in his last 11 games. When the Giants don't pressure the quarterback -- and it's been quite some time -- they have a poor defense.
2dBy Dan Graziano