One time owners of a 10-point lead, the Giants failed to hang onto a potential game-winning touchdown pass, and a certain game-clinching interception, in the final moments, and fell, 27-26, to the defending Super Bowl champion and undefeated (9-0) New England Patriots Sunday in MetLife Stadium. It was their second one-point loss of the season, and fourth by four points or less.>> WATCH GIANTS VS. PATRIOTS HIGHLIGHTS
Stephen Gostkowski scored the game-winning points on a 54-yard field goal with one second remaining.>> INSTANT ANALYSIS: GIANTS VS. PATRIOTS
"I'm very disappointed, upset, whatever the words might be," coach Tom Coughlin said.
"It's a terrible loss," defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said. "We wanted to win so badly, but they executed better than us today."
"We've just got to be able to hold onto a lead," quarterback Eli Manning said. "You can always look back and see where opportunities are lost, and where you could have been the difference in making the play. But you never know how that's going to turn out. It's all a matter of getting it to the end, and making the plays when it counts in the fourth quarter."
The Giants failed to make two that would have made a difference.
With 2:01 remaining, Manning threw to the left side of the end zone for Odell Beckham Jr. The play was originally ruled a five-yard touchdown, which would have given the Giants a 29-24 lead. "We already had the two-point play on the field ready to go for two," Coughlin said.
But after a review of the play – mandatory on all scores – the score was overturned, because the officials ruled Beckham did not retain possession long enough before Malcolm Butler knocked the ball from his hands. Had the touchdown stood, New England could not have won the game with a field goal. But the Giants settled for Josh Brown's fourth three-pointer, and a 26-24 lead with 1:47 remaining.
Beckham blamed himself for the defeat.
"I lost us the game with the play down in the end zone, a play that should have been made," he said. "You can't leave it up to the officials to get anything right. You've got to make the play yourself, and it was just a case of playing the play longer than the opponent.
"I caught it. I trust in my hands. I go up and catch it. You come down with two feet and you can't try to do anything too early. You've got to complete the whole process. It didn't go the way we wanted it to."
Manning said the reversal was not unexpected.
"Just looking at it, it's kind of the way the rule is making the football move, especially in the end zone," he said. "You've got to have it the whole time, and so I wasn't surprised after seeing the replay."
Asked what Beckham could have done, Coughlin said, "Hang onto the ball. Get the ball and put it away. The one thing I noticed with Butler all night long, are very quick hands and his hands were in there on the ball a lot. He'll learn."
Earlier, Coughlin said, "Finish the game. Just get the game over with. We had the ball in the end zone that's knocked out of the hands. We have to kick the field goal, which makes you right away worried because they have an outstanding kicker who might kick it from 58 to 60 yards, he's done that before."
After Brown's field goal, it was up to the Giants' defense to hold the lead and clinch the victory. And it almost did. On first down from the 20, Tom Brady threw a pass down the center of the field that only safety Landon Collins had a chance to catch. The Patriots had no timeouts left, so if Collins comes up with the interception, the Giants take a knee as the clock runs out.
But Collins jumped and when he came down, the ball fell to the ground. Incomplete pass. The drive, and the Patriots' hopes – were alive.
"Play's there, you've got to make the play," Coughlin said. "I mean, he's throwing down the middle of the field with no one, there's no one even there. Catch the ball and the game's over. I'm sending the victory team out. I mean, it's just a shame. I don't know how to explain it. It looked like he had it at first and the ball was out when he hit the ground."
"I landed on my head," Collins said. "I went up for the ball, all I remember is catching the ball. Next thing I remember, DRC (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) is standing over me. I hit my head, got dazed, and then I didn't feel where the ball was. So I got dazed, and lost the ball when I hit my head.
"I've made many plays like that. It's the fact that I just didn't keep my body upward. If I kept my body upward and landed on my back and made the ball, I just landed on my head at the time."
Three plays later, Brady, playing without his leading receiver, Julian Edelman, who injured his foot, threw a 12-yard pass to Danny Amendola on fourth-and-10. He completed four more passes before spiking the ball with six seconds remaining to set up Gostkowski's deciding kick.
Brady had earlier thrown touchdown passes of one yard to Scott Chandler and 76 yards to Rob Gronkowski. LaGarrette Blount scored on a one-yard run, and Gostkowski kicked two field goals.
The Giants scored on Manning touchdown passes of 87 yards to Beckham and one yard to Dwayne Harris, plus four Brown field goals.
But the Giants made several costly mistakes besides the plays Beckham and Collins couldn't finish.
Leading 20-10 in the third quarter, they allowed Amendola to escape for an 82-yard punt return, setting up Blount's touchdown, which cut their lead to three points. Amendola gave an all-clear signal while the ball was in the air, which seemed to prompt
some Giants defenders to misread his intent.
"He did something, which is normally the way it is," Coughlin said. "He did something, which slowed - which whatever it did, Harris didn't finish the play."
In the second quarter, Manning fumbled away the ball on the Patriots' 16-yard line. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Markus Kuhn recovered a Brady fumble and returned it to New England's 31-yard line. But Manning was sacked by Rob Ninkovich for a 13-yard loss, and the Giants punted.
"That was an unfortunate series," Coughlin said. "There is no other way around it. We didn't do anything to threaten and the ball was turned over right there and it would have been outstanding, but we went backwards. We had the penalties right off the bat, then we took the sack and were out of field goal range."
Now the Giants head into their bye week with a 5-5 record, instead of a much more uplifting 6-4 mark.
"You love to play these games, you really do," Coughlin said. "And the frustration - they will hurt all day tonight and all day tomorrow and we all will, we all will and probably well into the bye week. But maybe that is a good thing."
We'll learn if that's true over the last six weeks of the season, beginning Nov. 29 in Washington.
Photos from Sunday's matchup against the New England Patriots
The Giants' inability to close out an opponent cost them another victory, and this defeat might sting the most.