Giants let one slip away

Big Blue fought long and hard to keep pace with the powerful 49ers, a club that many are predicting to be Super Bowl contenders. Yet once they tied the contest in the waning minutes, a defensive collapse handed San Francisco the game.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Last season, the Giants suffered heartbreak after heartbreak, losing four fourth-quarter leads en route to a 7-9 campaign.

Apparently they've picked up right where they left off.

Big Blue fought long and hard to keep pace with the powerful 49ers, a club that many are predicting to be Super Bowl contenders. Yet once they tied the contest in the waning minutes, a defensive collapse handed San Francisco the game.

A Giants Stadium crowd of 78,748 looked on in horror as former Giants K Jose Cortez drilled a 36-yard field goal with six seconds to play, giving the 49ers a 16-13 decision.

"I thought we were ready and prepared to go for that game," Head Coach Jim Fassel said. "We were fully capable of winning that football game so it is a bitter pill to swallow."

Especially bitter because the Giants held superstar WR Terrell Owens to only three catches for eight yards. That was until the game was on the line.

Owens's 33-yard catch-and run on a blown coverage by LB Dhani Jones set San Fran up for the game-winning points.

"Big players make big plays in big games," DT Keith Hamilton said. "That's what beat us."

"I caught the one that counted," Owens said. "I got a release off of Jason Sehorn and made the play."

The Giants made several of their own plays offensively, but were plagued by too many mistakes - New York's usual recipe for failure.

"We're minus-two on the turnover ratio," Fassel said. "Penalties, some of them I just can't understand, we have them taking back big plays. We cannot make those kinds of mistakes and win a football game."

QB Kerry Collins, who threw for 342 yards, was intercepted three times, and New York was flagged on nine occasions for 80 yards. WR Amani Toomer had a 26-yard gain nullified when he was called for offensive pass interference.

A holding infraction on LT Luke Petitgout cost Big Blue another Toomer catch - this one for 44 yards - late in the third quarter. Toomer was the only bright spot for the Giants offensively. He busted out with nine catches for 134 yards. Yet the only Giant to reach the end zone was Tiki Barber, who scored on a one-yard sweep late in the contest.


The Giants Beat Top Stories