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Eli Manning's take on critical fourth-down attempt


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Eli Manning said today he didn't have time to assess his options on the critical fourth-down play yesterday that commenced the sequence of events which ended with the Giants losing to the Jets in overtime, 23-20.

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The Giants owned a 10-point lead with 8:50 remaining in the fourth quarter when they faced a fourth-and-two from the Jets four-yard line. Tom Coughlin called timeout and elected to try for the touchdown – or first down – rather than kick a field goal that would have given the Giants a 23-10 advantage. But Manning, under pressure, threw a pass for Rueben Randle that was intercepted by Rontez Miles at the three, and the Jets soon took the lead for good.

"It was the play we had run earlier in the year, we've had great success with it," Manning said. "They covered it well the way they tried to pass it off, the safety came down, and I would've had to work a second window or come back to my back on a route. But they got pressure, and I didn't have that luxury. Still thought I could maybe hit Rueben just kind of running by. The defender wasn't looking at me, he was looking at Rueben. I thought Rueben could run by him and still possibly make the catch or get an interference call. Didn't work out that way, though."

Manning was asked whether it was possible to throw to tight end Will Tye, who was at the goal line.

"Could've been a possibility," Manning said. "Could've come back to him, could've come back to him late, but just didn't have that opportunity."

•  Manning said his (right) ankle was X-rayed after the game, but he was typically reticent when asked about an injury.

"I feel good," he said.

Good to practice? "I would think so, yes."

Coach Tom Coughlin said, "no," when asked if there was anything to worry about regarding Manning going forward.

•  Randle had just two receptions for 22 yards yesterday. He has 42 catches this season, and is on pace to finish with 56, one year after he had 71. On the crucial fourth down yesterday, he seemed to cut short his route. So what's happened to Randle?

Photo timeline from the Giants Week 13 matchup vs. Jets

"That's a very good question," coach Tom Coughlin said. "Like, for example, last Wednesday Rueben practiced very well. Thursday was okay, not great. He made a heck of a catch to set up the fourth down call just to catch the ball, which was one of those things with people flying around. The ball was thrown in his direction and he made a nice adjustment and catch. That's a question which, quite frankly, if I were to answer, I would be speaking to Rueben."

•  Rookie left tackle Ereck Flowers left the game yesterday with a sprained ankle, and his availability for the Dolphins game in Miami on Monday night is in question. Flowers missed the game against Washington on Sept. 24 with a sprained ankle.

"He was still on crutches today," Coughlin said. "I don't think, and I don't have anything right in front of me…another sprain, perhaps like the one he had previously."

•  The Giants are in the unusual position of rooting for Dallas on Monday Night Football. If the Cowboys beat Washington, the Giants will be in a three-way tie with the Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles atop the NFC East.

"I guess we've had to root for divisional teams before," Manning said. "I don't think I'll be wearing a Matt Cassel jersey or anything, but we'll be hoping they can pull out a win. No offense to Matt Cassel (who is filling in for the injured Tony Romo as Dallas' quarterback)."

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