Leading by three points with 1:43 left in the game Sunday, Coughlin called for a pass by Eli Manning on third-and-goal for New York from the 1-yard line. The pass fell incomplete.
"It's my fault at the end of the game," Coughlin said following the 27-26 loss. "There's nobody else to blame but me. I take full responsibility for it because the strategy was wrong at the end."
This isn't just a case of a coach taking the blame for his players' mistakes. Runs in short yardage situations have a much higher chance of succeeding than passes. But the clock was such a factor here that even a failed run would have been a success. The Giants could have milked the clock to under one minute left following a field goal attempt, making it far more difficult for the Cowboys to drive the length of the field.
Coughlin admitted the decision will "stick with me" for a while.
Yes, Manning also deserves some blame. Once he realized the play had failed, he should have taken the sack.
"I gotta know that (to take a sack), 100 percent. I gotta know that," Manning said. "I gotta know the circumstance and just don't take a chance and take that sack and go into the next one; get a field goal and leave just a little bit of time left on the clock."
A collapse like this one has a lot of fathers. Coughlin called the final two drives "knife through butter," which is an appropriate image for the Giants' defense. They offered no resistance at all.