Tiki Barber's ninth 100-yard game set a single-season team record. His 1-yard touchdown run with 12:49 to play in the first half was his 12th of the season, a career-high.
The Giants sacked Jon Kitna three times, all in the first half. Rookie linebacker Reggie Torbor picked up 1.5 sacks in his best game to date.
After allowing an average of 174 yards on the ground the last five weeks, the Giants held the Bengals to 63 on 25 tries. Rudi Johnson was held to 31 yards on 19 carries. Cincinnati couldn't make a yard on third or fourth down from the Giants 37 early in the third quarter.
Ron Dayne looked as good as he has all year, gaining 33 yards on six carries and showing good speed getting through the hole.
What went wrong
Eli Manning was 19-of-37 for 201 yards, but had eight consecutive incompletions in the first quarter. He threw only one interception, but his tipped pass that was picked off with 28 seconds to play ended any chance of a comeback.
Three personal fouls hurt the Giants in the first half beginning with rookie Curtis Deloatch running over Bengals punt returner Keiwan Ratliff, who had called for a fair catch in the first quarter. The 15-yard penalty allowed Cincinnati to start its second possession on the Giants 46.
Jeremy Shockey had six catches for 64 yards, but dropped two, including a sure first down on third-and-9 in Bengals territory in the first period.
Many of Steve Christie's field goals resulted from blown opportunities in the red zone. The worst: Ahead 19-17, the Giants sat second-and-1 from the Bengals 5 with 6:33 to play but were thwarted by Ron Dayne's no gain and an illegal procedure penalty on tackle Luke Petitgout. "Incredible," Tom Coughlin said.
Giants record: 5-10
This time last year: 4-11
Time of game: 3:04
Stat worth noting: It's obvious where this game was decided - the same place as so many other Giants losses. New York moved inside the Bengals' 20-yard line five times and came away with one TD and four FGs - 19 out of a possible 35 points. Cincinnati scored three TDs and a FG in four trips into New York's red zone.
Stat worth noting II: Go figure, the Giants shot themselves in the foot with penalties. New York was flagged nine times for 85 yards in losses, while the Bengals only committed three penalties and lost 20 yards as a result.
Turning point: The Giants were leading 22-17 when Bengals punt returner Keiwan Ratliff broke off a 42-yard return to the Giants 24 with 2:05 to play.
"Our punt and kickoff coverage was poor, very poor," Tom Coughlin said.
They still were in good shape after three incompletions set up a fourth-and-10. But receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh split two defenders for a 19-yard catch to the 5. Then on second-and-goal from the 4, Jon Kitna found Chad Johnson for the game-winning score with 44 seconds to play.
"Two guys there to make the play and we don't get it done," Coughlin said.
Play to remember: Midway through the second quarter, the Giants faced a third-and-five near midfield. Eli Manning dropped back and lofted a perfect pass down the right sideline to Jeremy Shockey, who beat two defenders, for a 27-yard gain. That play was awfully reminiscent of the type of throw routinely made by Manning's older brother, Peyton.
Play to forget: With less than three minutes to play in the fourth quarter, Manning on third down threw a short pass that deflected right off the helmet of Bengals DT John Thornton.
By the numbers
0: Official percentage New York now has of making the playoffs.
1: Number of TDs scored by the Giants despite 326 total yards and close to 100 yards more than Cincinnati, which reached the end zone three times
3: Number of yards gained by Ike Hilliard, subbing for injured Mark Jones, on his first two punt returns of the season.
8: Consecutive games the Giants have lost.
What they said
"That is one of the most bizarre games I've ever seen in my life. I have no explanation for why, play after play after play with opportunities, we can't make a play." - Giants coach Tom Coughlin
"We would have lost this game a year ago. We would have continued to find a way to lose at the end." - Bengals coach Marvin Lewis
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