The stage was set. Eli Manning had the ball, with plenty of time for the quarterback to lead the New York Giants to a game-winning field goal on Sunday night. We expect the Giants to come through in these spots, but we shouldn't expect it when they face the Philadelphia Eagles.
Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes came up short on a 54-yard field goal to help Philadelphia beat the Giants 19-17 for the eighth time in their last nine meetings. The ending to this game will be talked about all week, and will shape the early NFC East division race.
Eli Manning led the Giants into field-goal range with a bold downfield throw out of the shotgun on fourth-and-1 from the Giants' 35-yard line on New York's final drive. A questionable pass interference penalty on Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha set up the Giants at the Eagles' 27-yard line with 49 seconds left. And then the fun really started.
» After an incomplete pass, Coughlin decided to attempt a 54-yard field goal on third down rather than risk trying to get closer with a play to the sideline. (The Giants were out of timeouts.) That also backfired.
» Tynes missed the potential game-winner twice. On the first try, Eagles coach Andy Reid called a timeout just before Tynes hooked it left. Tynes got another chance and left it short. Perhaps Reid was trying to tire Tynes out.
The Eagles are living a charmed life at 3-1. They've won three games by a total of four points. In any other year, Tynes would have nailed the second attempt to set the talk radio stations ablaze in Philadelphia.
While the Eagles' inability to finish drives on the goal was maddening on Sunday night, this was easily their best overall team effort of the season. Michael Vick played a controlled game to push the Giants to 0-2 in the NFC East. The Giants made the critical mistakes, including Manning throwing an interception to Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the red zone.
One season after the Eagles found every possible way to lose close games, all the breaks are turning their way this year.Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.