Monday, September 9, 2013
Drive of the Game: One turnover too many
By Dan Graziano
The drive of the game didn't turn out to be a drive, but the New York Giants certainly thought it could have been. They trailed the Cowboys 30-24 with 2:41 left in the game, and in spite of having turned the ball over five times and been thoroughly dominated in time of possession, they were giving the ball back to two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning and asking him to win it for them.
Manning was humming along, locked in with all three of his wide receivers. He'd led an 80-yard drive and a 90-yard drive already in the second half to get the Giants back into the game, and the Giants on the bench were thinking about that Super Bowl season two years ago, in which felt as though Manning delivered in this exact same spot every time. And when Manning's third pass of the drive converted a third-and-5 with a 26-yard completion to Rueben Randle that moved the ball to the Giants' 48-yard line, that old feeling started to feel justified.
But it wasn't meant to be. The next pass was a screen to running back Da'Rel Scott, who was only in the game because Andre Brown broke his leg in the final preseason game and David Wilson had fumbled twice already in this game. Manning hasn't thrown a lot of screen passes to Scott in practice. They're not used to each other. Not in sync. Manning threw it to a spot. Scott broke to a different spot. Scott couldn't catch the ball cleanly. He batted it up into the air and Dallas cornerback Brandon Carr hauled it in at the 49 and ran it all the way back to the end zone for the touchdown that put the game away for the Cowboys.
Five turnovers, the Giants might have been able to survive. The sixth was too many.