Tom Coughlin regrets late decisions
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tom Coughlin opened his team meeting Monday with a little confession.
The two-time Super Bowl champion coach spent all of Sunday night and Monday second-guessing several decisions that led to Lawrence Tynes missing a 54-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the Giants' 19-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
"I take full responsibility for that," Coughlin said during his news conference Monday. "And as I told the players, I will start the meeting off by talking about my sins, and that's one that I will confess to."
One of the things that lingers with Coughlin is how he opted to line up for the 54-yarder, which would have been Tynes' career high, on third-and-19 with 15 seconds remaining instead of trying to throw a quick sideline pass to get closer.
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With no timeouts, Coughlin was worried about something going wrong and not being able to get out of bounds to stop the clock. That was Sunday night. By Monday morning, Coughlin regretted his conservative approach.
"We had the game in our possession, we were in field-goal range and we didn't get it done," he said. "All of those things, put the blame right here, it is right where it should be. The game was in hand, we let it get out of hand. All the analysis afterward is fine and dandy, that is what we all do for a living, me included. Analyze, analyze, analyze."
Coughlin also had to explain why the Giants were in the position to take a 54-yard field goal in the first place.
The Giants had a second-and-9 at the Eagles 26-yard line with 25 seconds remaining, but Eli Manning threw the ball toward Ramses Barden inside the 5 near the right corner of the end zone. Nnamdi Asomugha had the inside position, and Barden was flagged for offensive pass interference as he probably prevented the Eagles cornerback from intercepting the pass.
The penalty pushed the Giants back to the Eagles' 36. Coughlin knows he could have just run the ball once more and set up for a much closer field goal for Tynes.
But Coughlin doesn't mind his quarterback being aggressive, considering Manning orchestrated five fourth-quarter comebacks for wins last year.
"The penalty really hurt us," Coughlin said. "(But) that's the way we play, we have been able to do that by virtue of putting the ball into the hands of the quarterback and having him make good decisions.
"This one didn't work out. Would we change? Yeah sure, today we would. Today it's easy. You got the ball at the 28 and run it once to the 26 and you run it again, put it in the middle of the field. But there are no guarantees that a 44-yarder or a 46-yard field goal are going to be easily handled either."
Coughlin also said that the mechanics of Tynes' second attempt from 54 yards did not go off smoothly from snap to the hold.
Tynes missed his first 54-yard attempt wide left with plenty of distance, but Eagles coach Andy Reid called timeout just before the ball was snapped. The second and official attempt was down the middle but fell short.
And that is what eats at Coughlin, who knows that if the Giants had been five yards closer, Tynes could have made the field goal.
"If I were to do it over myself, would I be as conservative with the 15 seconds? Not this morning," Coughlin said. "This morning, I throw it to the sideline or something of that nature and take a chance on that. What happens if you get a sack there or you try to fit one in tight, whether you catch it or not, you get tackled in bounds, game over.
"Would I be that conservative? Not today. But last night I chose to do that knowing full well the clock was not in our favor, we had no timeouts. I fully expected the type of coverage that would take the throw to the sideline away from us. But I am not going to know that is not the case because we didn't try it."
Coughlin also knows that if the Giants defense was able to stop Eagles running back LeSean McCoy a few times in the second half, it could have been a different outcome. McCoy rushed for 121 of his 123 yards after halftime, as the Giants lost containment on the shifty back and quarterback Michael Vick, who rushed for 49 yards.
The Giants offense also had to be more productive than it was. The Giants rushed for just 57 yards on 19 carries, and the points weren't nearly enough in Coughlin's book.
"You are not going to win any games at this level with 17 points," Coughlin said. "Come on ... 17 points is not going to win games at the professional level. You got to do better, offensively, you got to do better."
The Giants fell to 0-2 in NFC East play for the first time since 1996 under Dan Reeves. That year, the Giants finished 6-10.
Coughlin certainly hopes Sunday night's two-point loss does not come back to haunt him at the end of the season. This one already stings.
"We were there at the end to win the game and we didn't get it done," Coughlin said. "And that hurts. It is remorse for opportunity lost. You can see it in the eyes of the players and the coaches today.
"There wasn't any sleep here because there wasn't any sleeping. As soon as you laid down, it came right to you. Why didn't you win the game? It is no fun when it doesn't work out the way you planned it to work out."
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