Hot Topic and Player Notes

The clock showed 1:26 to play in the fourth quarter and the Giants were on the 3-yard line of the Dallas Cowboys, who led 13-6. It was second-and-1 when the hulking rookie running back Brandon Jacobs appeared on the field and headed for the huddle. He is 6-4 and 265 pounds, and there was absolutely no doubt in anybody's mind what his assignment was.

Sure enough, quarterback Eli Manning handed him the ball going straight ahead. He seemed to pick the seam between center Shaun O'Hara and right guard Chris Snee. He hit the line and moved it back. He already had the first down but he wanted the rest of it. He wanted the touchdown.

He hit again, and Cowboys safety Roy Williams hit back. Once, then twice, and the ball popped loose. Williams also recovered the fumble and the Giants' attempt to tie the game was dead.

The fact that they tied it anyway 61 seconds later on a 24-yard Manning pass to tight end Jeremy Shockey was nice, but it didn't completely mask the questionable decision made by coach Tom Coughlin and/or offensive coordinator John Hufnagel.

It was Jacobs' first play of the game, 58 minutes and 34 seconds after it began, and during that time all he had done was participate on special teams.

"I thought Brandon made a great effort," Coughlin said the next day. "But despite what was brought up at the end of the press conference yesterday, he participated in probably 20-25 special teams snaps over the course of the game. So he was involved, and he had been hit. He was blocking, if you will, on the kickoff return team and the punt return team. So he had opportunities to compete."

Sure, but not like taking a handoff and hitting the line in the teeth of a ferocious goal-line stand with the game on the line. Coughlin drew a lot of criticism - or at least questioning - about his decision to send Jacobs in "cold," as it were and/or not to have used him from scrimmage earlier in the game.

This debate probably isn't over yet.


--SS Gibril Wilson came out of the Dallas game for a while with a sprained ankle but returned. He was slightly hobbled, yet still finished the game as the team's co-leader in tackles with 10 and a forced fumble.

--WLB Nick Greisen, playing his second straight game because Reggie Torbor had been demoted, had a 10-tackle performance plus a fumble recovery.

--SLB Carlos Emmons left the game temporarily with a sprained ankle but returned. He and Wilson are expected to play Sunday at home against Denver.

--RCB Will Peterson missed last week's game, and it remains likely that he will not play any more this season. He is probably suffering from a stress fracture of the transverse process near the base of his spine. The most optimistic guess provided by coach Tom Coughlin is another 4-6 weeks of inactivity.

--QB Eli Manning took the blame for an interception by Dallas CB Anthony Henry at the Cowboys' 1-yard line on a pass intended for WR Plaxico Burress. "It was a bad throw and they had good coverage," he said. "I probably should have thrown it away or looked somewhere else."

--RB Tiki Barber (14 carries, 64 yards) said he was pleased with the Giants' running game and indicated that he would have liked to have more running plays called. "Whenever we run the ball we do well," he said. "It was probably the only consistent thing we did all day."

--WR Amani Toomer, a nine-year veteran with the Giants, appears to be on his way to retirement. He caught just two passes for 11 yards against Dallas, giving him 11 for 146 in the five games. Plaxico Burress has become the "go-to" receiver in the offense.

--TE Jeremy Shockey had his best yardage day of the season, with five receptions for 129 yards including a long gain of 59 and a 24-yard TD catch. He has 23 for 380 yards and three TDs this season.

--PK Jay Feely has yet to miss anything in 2005. He was 2-for-2 Sunday on field goals of 50 and 45 yards to go 10-for-10 this season. He also converted his only PAT opportunity, giving him 17 in a row, and his season point total is now 47.

--CB Curtis Deloatch, filling in for Will Peterson, had an interception, five tackles and two passes defended against Dallas. "He's playing well, and he's playing smart," said coach Tom Coughlin. It would appear that second-year product of North Carolina A&T, who signed as a free agent last year, has locked up the RCB spot.

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