Plax Makes Wrong Call

No one officially pinned the blame for New York's loss to Dallas on Plaxico Burress for calling a timeout late in the fourth quarter when the Giants were about to tie the Cowboys. But his coach was quick to point the finger away from himself while his quarterback gave Burress right up.

On the play coming out of the two-minute warning, with the Giants trailing by 7, Eli Manning dumped the ball off to Tiki Barber, who took off for a 28-yard gain that moved Big Blue to the Dallas 12. The clock was ticking, the Giants were close, but then they inexplicably called timeout – with 1:42 still left to play.

"Plaxico called the timeout," Manning said. "He thought he saw someone on the sideline signaling timeout. Obviously we left too much time on the clock."

"I did not take the time out," added Tom Coughlin, quick to defend himself. "Once the timeout was made, fine. Let's regroup. We did change personnel because of that and had an effective play, and then went back to another on-the-run form of personnel. It was a timeout that I didn't call, but it wasn't something that was that critical. As it turns out, the way they ended up with as much time as they did, it wasn't something that I would have liked, but that's not the reason they won. They go the length of the field in a minute."

It took the Giants two more plays to knot things up, leaving Dallas a full minute with which to work.

They didn't even need all that time.

On their first play from scrimmage, Jason Witten left Antonio Pierce and Will Demps in the dust, gaining 42 yards and setting up Martin Gramatica's game-winning 46-yard field goal.

"It was a good play by the quarterback and the tight end," Pierce said. "That's all that play was about. It wasn't anybody's fault."

"We have people in coverage down there," Coughlin added. "They should make the play on him."

Yet another play that cost the Giants big-time was Brandon Jacobs, all 264 pounds of him, being dropped for a three-yard loss on a fourth-and-one from the Dallas 24-yard line with 1:30 to play in the opening half.

"I got stopped," Jacobs said. "I looked (inside) once. I looked (inside) twice. I'm not second-guessing anything I did. It was a good play by the defense. They didn't play it the way we thought they were going to play it."

Coughlin vehemently defended the play-call, which directly preceded Dallas taking a 10-7 lead into halftime.

"He bounced outside," he said. "They had good penetration, we got flattened out. We really have been very good in all short-yardage situations this year and we had an opportunity there to keep the ball at the end of the half and score a touchdown to keep the ball away from them. And of course, we didn't make it. I don't question the decision. I don't question the call. He didn't make it."

Big D – as in disappointment

Dallas kicker Martin Gramatica scored the game-winning points on a 46-yard field goal with one second remaining. It was the third time in the last 12 seasons a Giants opponent scored with a second or less remaining in the fourth quarter to win or tie a game. Each time, that opponent was Dallas. On Dec. 17, 1995, Chris Boniol kicked a 35-yard field goal, his fifth of the game, to give the Cowboys a 21-20 win in Dallas as time expired. And on Sept. 15, 2003, Billy Cundiff booted a 52-yard field goal to tie the game at 32-32 with no time remaining. Cundiff later kicked a 25-yarder 9:04 into overtime (his record-tying seventh of the game) to give the Cowboys a 35-32 triumph.

Quick kicks

Eli Manning completed 24-of-36 passes for 270 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, good for a quarterback rating of 107.4, his second-highest of the season. He had a 111.7 rating at Philadelphia…

Tiki Barber increased his career total to 9,957 yards and needs 43 more to become the first Giant with 10,000 rushing yards…

Plaxico Burress caught his career-high eighth touchdown pass of the season. He had seven last year with the Giants and in 2002 with Pittsburgh…

Rookie wide receiver Sinorice Moss was in uniform for only the second time this season (Sept. 17 at Philadelphia). Moss had a 10-yard reception to give the Giants a first down in the third quarter…

The Giants have scored first in all four games of their current losing streak. Prior to this skid they had won 11 games in a row in which they were the first team on the scoreboard.

Stray can't go

Despite being hopeful of returning to the lineup, Michael Strahan "wasn't very" close, according to Coughlin. "We worked him out and he couldn't do it," the coach said.

With the return of Osi Umenyiora, Mathias Kiwanuka started in place of Strahan at LDE. Corey Webster and Luke Petitgout remained out with injuries. New York's healthy scratches were WR Michael Jennings, LB Tyson Smith, LB Chris Claiborne and newly-signed punter Sean Landeta. Tim Hasselbeck was the third quarterback.

Super champion returns

While Jeff Feagles was able to play in his 300th NFL game against Dallas, concerns about his sore knee prompted the Giants to bring in former punting great Sean Landeta late last week. To make room for Landeta on the roster, the Giants waived defensive tackle Lance Legree.

Feagles became the fifth player in NFL history to play 300 games. He practiced all week, but felt soreness in his right (kicking) knee.

To cover their bases, the Giants brought in Landeta, who punted for them from 1985-93. Landeta most recently played in 2005, his 21st NFL season, when he was with the Philadelphia Eagles for the final five games of the year.

Feagles and Landeta are the two most prolific punters in NFL history. They are ranked first and second in all of the major statistical categories. Landeta has a 43.3-yard career gross average and a 35.5-yard net average. He began his NFL career with the Giants in 1985. He played on both of New York's Super Bowl-winning teams before he was released during the 1993 season.

Feagles, 40 years old and in his 19th NFL season, joins Morten Andersen (362 and counting with the Atlanta Falcons), Gary Anderson (353), George Blanda (340) and Jerry Rice (303) as the only players in NFL history to appear in 300 games.

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