Giants Post Game Report

What went right <br> The Giants offense finally broke out and was able to consistently move the ball against the league's top-ranked defense. Eli Manning mixed it up nicely in the air and played by far his best game. Tiki Barber was effective enough on the ground against the NFL's second-best run defense.

Willie Ponder's game-opening kickoff return for a touchdown gave New York life in a game no one thought they could actually compete in. Ponder was effective all game long in the kick return game, averaging 32.4 yards per return.

David Tyree turned in a huge catch that changed the game's momentum late in the third quarter, when he ran right by the defense on a post pattern for a 49-yard gain.

Nick Greisen played the best game of his short career. He was all over the field, posting 15 tackles and a sack.

What went wrong
The defense couldn't make the big stop when necessary. The Steelers totaled 469 yards and held the ball for close to 36 minutes.

The Giants were flagged for a few questionable penalties that hurt. Visanthe Shiancoe was penalized 15 yards for excessive celebration after the game-opening TD and Brent Alexander was nailed for roughing Roethlisberger after a third-down incompletion to name a couple.

The Giants couldn't control the Steelers receivers, who made numerous big catches throughout the game en route to 309 passing yards. Both Hines Ward (134) and Antwaan Randle El (149) topped the century mark.

Pittsburgh drove The Bus to victory. Jerome Bettis easily topped the century mark on the ground and got the tough yards when the Steelers needed them. Ha averaged just less than four yards a carry en route to a 140-yard afternoon.

Will Allen dropped yet another potential interception in the second half that would have prevented a Pittsburgh score.

Fast facts
Giants record: 5-9
This time last year: 4-10
Time of game: 2:53
Attendance: 78,836

Stat worth noting: The Steelers averaged 6.6 yards per play, while the Giants were very close with 6.3 yards per play. However, Pittsburgh ran 71 offensive plays to only 44 for New York.

Stat worth noting II: The Giants won the turnover battle, 2-1, picking Roethlisberger off twice to only one INT by Manning. However, it obviously wasn't enough.

Turning point: The Giants had shocked the football world by taking a 24-23 lead very late in the third quarter. However, before the quarter would expire the Steelers had wrestled back the game's momentum by virtue of a 40-yard catch by Hines Ward, who beat Terry Cousin and was wide open in moving the ball from the Steelers 30 to the Giants 30, leading to a go-ahead score by Pittsburgh. While the Giants would eventually regain and blow the lead, that play injected life into the Steelers when everything appeared to be going New York's way.

Play to remember: Why Tom Coughlin hasn't allowed Willie Ponder to return kicks all season is beyond us. Ponder took the game's opening kick and returned it 91 yards for a touchdown. Ponder sped up-field, beat Steelers safety Troy Polamalu after crossing midfield and tiptoed down the right sideline the final 10 yards for New York's first regular season kickoff return since 1966.

Play to forget: With the Giants down six but threatening to take the lead in the third period, their running game came up short. On third-and-goal from the Steelers 1-yard line, Tiki Barber took the handoff and was headed behind right guard. He never got there. One of the Steelers' defensive tackles was able to break through and stood up fullback Jim Finn. Barber slammed right into the back of his blocker and fell to the turf for a three-yard loss. The Giants had to settle for three.

By the numbers
0: Total punts in the game by the Steelers.
7: Consecutive games the Giants have lost.
103.9: Eli Manning's rating for the game. His overall rating through his first four starts was 33.8.
259: Total kickoff return yards gained by Willie Ponder, who scored on a 91-yard TD.

What they said
"It's devastating to come out and play that well as an offense and not win." – Giants FB Jim Finn

"Our defense has carried us all year. I said to our offense that it is time to carry the load a little bit. It we have to get into a shootout, then let's score every time we have the ball." – Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger


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