The Giants were oh-so-close to victory Sunday night. But Lawrence Tynes was just a bit too far from the goal posts and the Giants lost another tight game to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Tynes' 54-yard field goal attempt fell just short of the crossbar with eight seconds remaining and the Giants were defeated by their NFC East rivals, 19-17, in Lincoln Financial Field.
Moments earlier, it appeared Tynes would have a much shorter try after the Giants' had advanced to Philadelphia's 26-yard line, thanks to pinpoint passing by Eli Manning and two pass interference calls on the Eagles' defense. But the Giants were pushed back 10 yards when Ramses Barden was penalized for offensive pass interference for making substantial contact with cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha with 21 seconds remaining.
After Manning threw an incompletion, Tom Coughlin sent Tynes out to attempt the field goal. His first kick had the distance, but flew outside the left upright. However the play didn't count because Philly coach Andy Reid called a late timeout in a bid to rattle Tynes. The second kick was right down the middle, but landed in front of the post.
"It's tough, but you have to move on," Tynes said. "It stinks, but it's a kick I can make and it's frustrating when you don't make it. But I'll look at it tomorrow and then move on."
Tynes said he had made kicks from that distance in that direction in pregame warm-ups.
"There was a little bit of breeze in our face, but it's still a kick I can make," said Tynes, who had made his previous 12 attempts dating back to last season. "The first one had plenty on it. It was just a little left and then when I straightened it up…I usually come through in those situations no matter how far it is, so to not do it, it's frustrating."
The Giants fell to 2-2, while Philadelphia improved to 3-1.
Philadelphia scored on Michael Vick's 19-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson and Alex Henery field goals of 20, 48, 35 and 26 yards.
Manning threw touchdown passes of 14 yards to Victor Cruz and six yards to Bear Pascoe and Tynes kicked a 25-yard field goal.
Henery's final three-pointer gave the Eagles the advantage with 1:49 remaining. David Wilson's kickoff return gave the Giants possession at their 35. These are the situations in which Manning has thrived. This time, however, he completed just one pass on the final drive. But the Giants advanced down the field thanks to interference penalties on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (21 yards on fourth-and-one) and Asomugha (eight yards and another first down on third-and-10). Barden was the intended receiver on both plays.
Two plays after the second penalty, on second-and-nine from the 26, Manning again threw a pass to Barden, deep down the right sideline. Barden collided with and wrapped his arms around Asomugha, drawing the flags that sent the Giants back 10 critical yards.
"You can have no idea on how I feel about the play right now," Barden said. "It was a tough call, but we have another shot against the Eagles again at our place (in the season finale on Dec. 30). I just did not take advantage of the play today, but I will the next time. I will improve and just help us win. I did not know how to react when the flag was thrown. I did think it was on him. I will watch the film and see where it is that I need to improve."
"He's trying to make a play (and) the defender was in very good position," coach Tom Coughlin said. "I was worried when I saw the flag come out, how that was going to be called because of the contact that was made and who initiated it. So, it's a tough call, it's a tough situation. He's got to go make a play on the ball, anyway. If the ball is in position, he'd have to knock it away."
Manning (24-of-42 for 309 yards, two touchdowns and an interception) tried to deflect the blame from Barden.
"Looking back on it I had the corner up top and I should have tried to throw to Barden's back shoulder to keep it away from the corner," Manning said. "I would have rather not thrown it so far down the field to cause the pass interference.
"We had the ball down to the 26-yard line and I was just trying to get us a little closer on the throw to Barden for an easier kick. I was just trying to get us closer for either a score or for the short field goal."
Had the Giants not moved from the 26, Tynes' game-winning attempt would have been a much easier 44-yarder.
"We were in field goal range and when we got the offensive pass interference, which really put it all the way in the back to about the very, very limit of where we could try," Coughlin said. "And then, of course, the clock became the factor and I couldn't afford to take a chance on the clock running out before we were able to spike the ball, so we went for the long field goal and it was just a little bit too long."
Before Henery's game-winning kick, the Giants had taken their only lead of the game at 17-16 on Manning's six-yard touchdown pass to Pascoe with 6:45 remaining. It was Pascoe's first career regular-season touchdown. The touchdown was set up by passes of 31 yards to Barden and 41 yards to Domenik Hixon.
Philadelphia then drove 75 yards in just under five minutes to set up Henery. The Eagles had a first-and-goal at the eight and the Giants' defense kept them out of the end zone from in close for the second time. But Coughlin also had to use his final two timeouts, creating a more frenetic situation for the offense.
"The thing that's difficult there is obvious - we had to take the timeouts at the other end of the field and we march with no timeouts and did a decent job of that," Coughlin said. "(We) tried to continue to move it closer so that the field goal was a very makeable one. Lawrence has done an outstanding job this year, and so we tried to, with what we thought were safe calls, and the pass interference was one of those things that when you saw it happen, you just shake your head because we're right back where we started from."
The Giants were hurt by another critical sequence spanning the third and fourth quarters.
Trailing, 13-10, they appeared poised to take the lead or tie the game after the final play of the third quarter when, on fourth-and-one, Cruz caught Manning's short pass and turned it into a 30-yard gain to the Eagles 10-yard line. Cruz eluded Rodgers-Cromartie on the play.
But the cornerback enjoyed some payback on the next snap, when he intercepted Manning's pass into the end zone for tight end Martellus Bennett, who was also covered by safety Nate Allen. Instead of taking a touchback, Rodgers-Cromartie returned the ball to the 14-yard line.
"We had a play in and I did not see Cromartie when he jumped the play," Manning said. "I was hoping he would jump the route early but he did not and I put it right in his hands. I did not see him and cannot afford to make that kind of a throw."
A 23-yard reception by Jason Avant helped Philadelphia advance all the way to the Giants' 13-yard line. But on third down, Chase Blackburn sacked Vick for a four-yard loss. Henery came on to kick his third field goal, increasing the Eagles' lead to 16-10 with 9:25 remaining.
Henery's second field goal, a 48-yarder, regained the lead for Philadelphia at 13-10 with 2:07 remaining in the third quarter.
The Eagles' eight-play, 50-yard drive included a 27-yard pass to tight end Brent Celek and Vick's 18-yard scramble up the left side.
Cruz's touchdown tied the score at 10-10 with 5:28 remaining in the third quarter. On third-and-three, Cruz lined up in the right slot, slipped past rookie cornerback Brandon Boykin, caught Manning's pass at the eight and stepped into the end zone.
The Giants drove 57 yards in eight plays, including a 13-yard pass to Hixon and three Ahmad Bradshaw runs totaling 18 yards.
Henery's 20-yard field goal on the first series of the second half increased the Eagles' lead to 10-3. But it was still a triumph for the Giants defense, which stopped LeSean McCoy after Philadelphia had a first-and-goal at the one. Rocky Bernard and Blackburn tackled McCoy for no gain on the first two snaps before the Eagles back ran wide to the left and fumbled the ball out-of-bounds at the two.
Just prior to that sequence, McCoy had ripped off consecutive runs of 34 and 22 yards to bring the ball to the one.
Philadelphia led, 7-3, at the end of a first half in which the teams combined for only 45 rushing yards – 26 by the Giants, who scored their first points with five seconds remaining in the first half when Tynes kicked a 25-yard field goal.
After the Eagles scored the game's initial points, the Giants drove 81 yards in nine plays before Tynes' three-pointer. The visitors started at a disadvantage – and their own 13-yard line - after Spencer Paysinger's holding penalty nullified Wilson's 48-yard kickoff return.
The series began with a spectacular catch by Hixon for a 32-yard gain. Hixon started for Hakeem Nicks, who was inactive with foot and knee injuries. Hixon added receptions of seven and 10 yards on the next two plays to give the Giants a first down at the Philadelphia 38-yard line.
From there, it was Cruz's turn to catch three passes in a row for a total of 30 yards. The Giants called their final timeout of the first half with 19 seconds remaining and facing a second-and-five from the eight. A pass to Bennett gained two yards and took six seconds off the clock. Manning then threw incomplete in the end zone for Hixon, forcing Tynes to come on to kick the field goal.
The Eagles had taken a 7-0 lead on Vick's 19-yard touchdown pass to Jackson with 1:47 left in the half.
On third-and-nine, Jackson eluded cornerback Corey Webster and safety Antrel Rolle and caught the pass in the back of the end zone. The score capped an 11-play, 70-yard drive that included an offside penalty on Osi Umenyiora that gave Philadelphia a first down, Vick's four-yard scramble for another first down and a 17-yard pass to Damaris Johnson.