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Monday, September 30, 2013
Drive of the Game: Putting it away

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The New York Giants trailed the Kansas City Chiefs by just three points when they decided not to go for it on fourth-and-inches on their own 30-yard line, and Dexter McCluster made them pay with an 89-yard punt-return touchdown. That put the Chiefs up 17-7, and there's little doubt that it shook the Giants. But more than one Giants player in the postgame locker room said it was the next Chiefs drive that really felt like a gut punch. That came after a Steve Weatherford punt into the end zone at the very end of the third quarter.

The Chiefs got the ball on their own 20-yard line and drove 80 yards in 14 plays that stretched over 9 minutes, 17 seconds and effectively ended the game by building a 17-point lead over a punchless Giants offense. Alex Smith converted a third-and-5 with a pass to McCluster at the Kansas City 30. Later in the drive, the Giants appeared to have held the Chiefs to a 53-yard field goal, only to be called for an illegal-formation penalty that resulted in a drive-saving first down. Rookie Damontre Moore appeared to be the Giant responsible, as special-teams coordinator Tom Quinn chewed him out on the sideline. The drive culminated in a 2-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Jamaal Charles on third-and-goal, and when it ended the Giants had less than six minutes to make up 17 points with an offense that couldn't make anything happen all day.

After the game, the Giants felt decent about their defensive performance, but the Chiefs drive that opened and consumed the bulk of the fourth quarter epitomized a Giants team that can't make anything positive happen so far this season. They can't keep asking the defense to hold, especially if it refuses to pressure quarterbacks.