Giants narrowly escape with OT win over Jets

If at first you don't succeed, try and try again. Luckily for the Giants, Brett Conway only needed one more try. After barely missing a 39-yard FG early in overtime, Conway connected on a 29-yarder with four seconds remaining in the extra period, giving Big Blue (4-4) a must-have 31-28 victory over the Jets, who dropped to 2-6. <BR><BR>

"That was a hell of a football game fought by two teams," Jim Fassel said. "I'm proud of the resiliency our guys showed."

No one was more resilient than Conway. New York's third kicker of the season blew a chance to be the hero. But then he more than made up for it.

"I told Conway to keep his head up," Fassel said.

"Most kickers always dream about that," Conway said. "Although it's the first one that's good."

Conway's first attempt came after Big Blue had frittered away a 14-point lead with 9:58 to play. Despite a plus-four turnover ratio, the Giants were forced into overtime.

Tiki Barber called 'heads' and 'heads' it was. The Giants promptly moved 45 yards to set Conway up for the game-winner. Not so fast.

"It was just a bad kick," he explained. "It would have been good from 38 but it wasn't good from 39. It's the worst feeling possible."

Followed not long after by the best feeling.

The Giants, of course, had to dodge another bullet when Doug Brien lined up for a 51-yarder that would have given Gang Green the game. But the kick was rushed, and CB Will Allen came flying through to block it.

"That was a great effort," Fassel said. "We don't know if he might have made it and we'd have a totally different outcome."

The Giants didn't need to ask for a third chance. They marched 54 yards, and turned it over to Conway once again.

"Coach Fassel was the first to say that I'd get another chance," Conway recalled. "But usually they just say that to try to calm you down. It usually doesn't happen."

It did. And he came through.

Holder Jeff Feagles said that Conway was as calm as can be. "I knew he'd make it," Feagles smiled.

The snap was perfect; the hold the same. The 29-yarder was on its way…and good. "I was angry and upset with myself," Conway said. "I'm glad I got another chance."

He almost didn't.

On the play preceding the game-winning boot, Tiki Barber almost took a run to the house, barely being tripped up by Tyrone Carter.

"I'm glad Tiki fell down and gave me another opportunity," Conway said.

The Giants had built up such a commanding lead that it was shocking that this one even required OT to settle. But when Jets TD Anthony Becht split two Giants defenders (Shaun Williams, Ralph Brown) with 29 seconds to play, the game was all knotted up.

"I don't think (the defense) let down," Fassel said. "I have to give it to the Jets. They were making plays."

Especially WR Santana Moss. He finished with three TDs among his 10 catches for 121 yards. Jets QB Chad Pennington made his first start of the year and finished with a career-high four TDs, but also his first two-INT game.

"I'm glad we got Pennington when we did," Michael Strahan said. "He's just starting to warm up."

But the Giants unleashed their own weapons. QB Kerry Collins fired for two TDs and 303 yards. He was six-of-10 for 85 yards in the overtime period.

"I thought Kerry played outstanding," Fassel said.

He distributed the ball nicely, with Amani Toomer grabbing six passes for 127 yards and a TD; Jeremy Shockey catching eight balls for 86 yards and Ike Hilliard chipping in with five receptions, 55 yards and a TD.

"Amani came up big for us today," Collins said.

Early and often.

It was Toomer's 39-yard TD in the first quarter that gave the Giants their first lead, and his 19-yard OT catch was the key play that set up Conway's winning kick.

"I had him beat by a couple yards and had to slow up for the ball," Toomer said of Jets CB Aaron Beasley on his scoring catch. "That's why it looked closer than it was. But of course I'm going to say that. I'm a receiver."

But New York's biggest star of the game came from the defensive side of the ball.

SLB Brandon Short played probably the best game of his career. He posted 14 stops, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, a sack and a batted pass.

"I thought he played outstanding," Fassel said. "He is a guy that will come to play in games like this. Brandon has improved every year; he is playing better this year."

Now, all of a sudden, so are the Giants.


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