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FG block leads to Conway's boot

11/2/2003

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New York Giants' special teams
threw a changeup of sorts.

The much-maligned unit came up big twice, once after failing to
win the game early in overtime, then after getting a gift from the
Jets.

Question on the Giants: Can the Giants still win the NFC East?
Yes, the window of opportunity hasn't closed for the Giants yet. Right now, their offense is leading the way for them. In their last two games they've scored a combined 60 points against two decent defenses. This division is going to come down to the Eagles and the Giants because the Cowboys have too tough a schedule and too many injuries to win down the stretch. And the Giants have the edge because their offense is better than the Eagles.

Question on the Jets: So how does Edwards keep his team focused in the second half?
This is going to be very difficult after two consecutive tough losses. The past two weeks, the Jets have come into games with more momentum than their opposition and lost both games. Their defense is letting them down and it's going to be hard for Edwards to get this team focused.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

Brett Conway atoned for a missed field goal early in overtime by
kicking a 29-yarder with four seconds to go, and the Giants
overcame a dramatic four-touchdown performance by Chad Pennington
with a 31-28 victory Sunday.

"I told him I had a feeling he was going to get another
chance," Giants holder Jeff Feagles said of Conway. "It's kind of
ironic, we missed the field goal, but then we won the game with the
blocked field goal. I'm very happy for our special teams. We
finally made some plays."

The unit was the big reason the Giants (4-4) came into the game
needing a win as much as the Jets (2-6). Twice already this season,
special teams mistakes turned wins into defeats.

It appeared ready to become three when the Jets drove to the
Giants 32 and were faced with a fourth-and-3 with about four
minutes to play.

Herm Edwards thought about it, then sent Doug Brien on to the
field.

"It is a tough kick, but we are trying to win the game,"
Edwards said. "You can second-guess and say we should have punted,
but we are trying to win the game.

Brien was still in pre-kick routine when long snapper James
Dearth snapped the ball because the play clock was down to one
second. The Jets had no timeouts remaining.

Brien got the kick off, but Will Allen came off the right wing
and blocked it.

Allen said Dearth tipped off the snap.

"He closes his fingers on the ball just before he snaps it, and
as soon as he closed them I took off," Allen said.

The block gave the Giants the ball at their 36. Kerry Collins,
who threw for two touchdowns and 303 yards, put his team in
position to win with passes of 19 yards to Amani Toomer and 12 to
Tiki Barber.

Conway, who said his curling first kick from 39 yards probably
would have been good from 35, didn't miss his second chance.

"I'm a little upset," Conway said. "It's great we won, but
they hired me to make the first one."

The loss left the Jets with the prospect of winning seven of
their final eight games to have an outside shot at the playoffs.

"It's actually sad in a way to see the looks on their faces
after they fought back and played as hard as they did," said
Giants defensive end Michael Strahan.

Despite three turnovers, Pennington was outstanding in his first
start this season. He threw for 281 yards and four scores, the last
a 9-yarder to tight end Anthony Becht with 29 seconds left in
regulation.

The touchdown pass capped a 12-play, 86-yard drive that was
ignited by a roughing-the-passer penalty against linebacker Mike
Barrow. Pennington kept it alive with a 15-yard pass to Santana
Moss on fourth-and-1. Moss earlier caught touchdown passes of 8, 25
and 11 yards, the last getting the Jets within 28-21 with 5:59 to
go.

"It is devastating, because we are so close," said Moss, who
had a career-best 10 catches for 121 yards. "We had a chance.
That's the worst part about it."

The Giants appeared in control after Dorsey Levens scored on a
3-yard run and Collins added a 2-point conversion on a quarterback
draw for a 28-14 lead with 9:58 to play in regulation.

Collins had given the Giants a 20-14 lead late in the third
quarter with a 6-yard pass to Ike Hilliard. Collins also threw a
39-yard TD pass to Toomer.

Pennington, who was intercepted twice and lost a fumble, made up
for his mistakes in his first start since breaking his left wrist
in the preseason after being tackled by Giants linebacker Brandon
Short.

Short had a career-best 14 tackles, a sack, two forced fumbles
and a recovery.<

Fassel refused to speculate whether the Giants' luck has finally
turned after winning two straight games.

"I don't know," Fassel said. "I told them just keep shoveling
men, we've got a long way to go. Keep shoveling."

Game notes
Jets LB Mo Lewis was inactive because of a hip injury,
snapping his streak of 71 consecutive regular-season starts. ...
Shaun Williams and Ralph Brown had interceptions for the Giants.
... It's the second time a Jets-Giants game was decided in OT. Jets
won the first one 26-20 at the Yale Bowl in 1974. ... Moss has a TD
in each of the last four games. He is the first Jet to score three
TDs since Curtis Martin had three against Kansas City in 2001. ...
Martin rushed for 108 yards, the first back to crack 100 against
the Giants since last season.