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Rapid Reaction: Giants 21, Steelers 14

10/26/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
A botched special teams play by the Steelers allowed the Giants to tie the game at 14 and quarterback Eli Manning led one of his patented fourth-quarter drives. On a key third-and-7 play, he found Steve Smith for a 25-yard gain. Two plays later, he connected with Plaxico Burress for an 8-yard gain and the Giants scored quickly after that to make it 21-14.

Once again, though, it was the defense that kept the Giants in the game. Ben Roethlisberger was picked off four times. He was also sacked five times. Defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka had the best game of his career with three sacks and a forced fumble. The Steelers focused on stopping defensive end Justin Tuck, and Kiwanuka took advantage of the strategy.

Burress didn't start the game as punishment for skipping a treatment Saturday for his sore neck. He played, but he was a non-factor until the end of the game. Trailing 14-9 in the fourth quarter, Manning made his best throw of the day. On fourth-and-six from the Steelers' 34-yard line, the quarterback hit Amani Toomer in stride for a 30-yard pass.

The Giants had to settle for a John Carney field goal, but the points put them in position to strike when replacement long snapper James Harrison sailed the ball over his punter's head. The victory sets up an NFC East showdown in the Meadowlands with the 5-3 Cowboys. The Giants are 6-1, and a win over the Cowboys would put them in great position at the midway point.