1) Boley’s scoop-and-score.
The Giants needed a spark to break the 7-7 stalemate before halftime, and the defense came through. On second-and-5 at New York’s 32-yard line, Osi Umenyiora
rushed around tackle Max Starks and got a piece of Ben Roethlisberger’s arm from behind. The ball came loose and bounced right to linebacker Michael Boley
, who scooped it up and ran 70 yards untouched for a touchdown. Replay reviewed the call on the field, and the play was upheld, giving the Giants a 14-7 lead. 2) Unable to convert.
Following Corey Webster
’s interception midway through the third quarter, the Giants offense took over on Pittsburgh’s 33 with a seven-point lead. The Giants worked down to a first-and-goal situation from the four-yard line. The sequence from there was a pair of Andre Brown
rushes for two and minus-two yards, followed by an incomplete pass to Rueben Randle
on third down. The Giants settled for a 23-yard chip shot from Lawrence Tynes
to take a 20-10 lead into the fourth quarter. Those would be the last points the Giants scored. 3) Wallace outruns Giants D.
Early in the fourth quarter, Pittsburgh cut it to a one-score game on its ensuing possession. On third-and-5 near midfield, Roethlisberger hit Mike Wallace on a short slant coming from the right side. The speedy wide receiver broke free up the left sideline and took it 51 yards to the end zone, outrunning any pursuit angles the Giants defenders took. 4) The special plays that could have been.
Having already given up a 68-yard kick return to begin the second half, the Giants’ coverage units took another blow early in the fourth quarter. This time it was Emmanuel Sanders returning a punt 63 yards. But it could have been worse. Punter Steve Weatherford
made what could have been a game-saving tackle when he backpedaled and took down Sanders in the open field, 12 yards short of the end zone.
It’s always rare when a punter makes a tackle, but the play was magnified when the Steelers failed to convert the long return into any points at all thanks to Michael Coe
. The cornerback and special teamer sniffed out a fake field goal on fourth-and-1 at Giants’ three, tackling kicker Shaun Suisham for a loss of one yard. 5) Redman breaks free one last time.
Like so many Giants games in recent memory, Sunday’s game had the potential for another dramatic finish. The defense was going to force one last punt and hand the ball over to Eli Manning
and the offense, down by four with two minutes to play. However, that opportunity never came. Facing a third-and-9, Roethlisberger found Sanders for a 16-yard gain and a first down. Running back Isaac Redman, like he had done all night, frustrated the Giants defense one last time on the next play with a 28-yard run before the two-minute warning. That enabled Roethlisberger to kneel down three times to run out the clock.