Three the Really Hard Way

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Sure it was disappointing that the Giants' first drive had been cut short and on a fourth-and-goal from the Chargers 21-yard line, Tom Coughlin decided to have his club line up for a field goal. It only got worse from there. Holder Jeff Feagles, who has certainly had better stretches during his seemingly endless NFL career, could not cleanly handle the ball.

As a result, kicker Lawrence Tynes never even tried to kick it through the uprights. The Giants lost out on a chance to open the game's scoring, coughing up three key points in what turned out to be a one-point defeat.

"Starting with the first field goal that should have been three points," Coughlin said. "Then we wouldn't have been in the bind we were in at the end."

Coughlin was asked exactly what happened on the costly non-kick.

"I don't really have the full explanation, but what it looked like was as he caught the ball and struggled to get it down, the kicker was in his routine," he said. "The holder had both hands on the ball, so when he started to swing through the ball, the ball was being held with two hands. I have to get more of an explanation on it. That's what it looked like from the side."

Tynes agreed.

"I was there when I should have been, but the ball wasn't there," he explained.

Adding injury to insult, Tynes took a helmet to this knee in the ensuing scrum.

He said that even the slightest alteration of the usually smooth kicking process could lead to disaster.

"It wasn't terrible, but it was enough to throw me off," Tynes said. "It is frustrating when you lose by a point."

Playing it safe

Equally frustrating was New York's inability to put the game away on offense. Terrell Thomas' clutch interception and athletic return set New York up at the Chargers 4-yard line. With just a little more than three minutes to play, a touchdown would all but wrap up a key victory for the Giants. It wasn't to be. Chris Snee was flagged for holding, which set the Giants back in a big way. Now facing a goal-to-go from the 14, the play-calling was clearly conservative. Tom Coughlin knew his defense had been playing well late in the game and he felt confident that a field goal to extend the lead to six would be enough for Big Blue to emerge victorious.

A short first-down pass to Hakeem Nicks gained nothing. Two consecutive Brandon Jacobs runs up the middle garnered 10 total yards, but never seriously threatened the goal line. So New York settled for three. It ultimately proved not to be enough.

Coughlin explained his thought process of playing it safe with the game hanging in the balance.

"It was the idea that we had the penalty, so we were behind the eight ball and we took our loss and they stuck back and defended the goal line," he said. "We didn't want to turn the ball over, obviously. We didn't want to be in a position like that. You can second-guess it all you want. Field goal at that point in time forced them to have a touchdown and score a touchdown. There was plenty of time, over two minutes. But, we just had a couple of really good series defensively. We forced them into bad situations and we had a lot of momentum with our touchdown. We felt good about the situation we were in. We let them off the hook."

Bye bye

New York missed out on a chance to extend its pre-bye record to the best in the game. New York is now 16-5 all-time in games played before the bye, which is good for a second-best tie with Seattle. The Cowboys are a game up at 17-4.

All tied up

The all-time series between the Giants and Chargers is now knotted at five wins apiece. This was the first time the teams faced each other in New Jersey since Dec. 23, 1995, a 27-17 Chargers victory. The Giants last defeated the Chargers in Giants Stadium on Sept. 14, 1986. The Giants and Chargers most recently played on Sept. 25, 2005 in San Diego, where the home team won, 45-23.

Ross remains out

While LB Michael Boley and DT Chris Canty were able to return to action against San Diego, CB Aaron Ross remained sidelined with his troublesome hamstring injury. In addition to Ross, the following players were inactive against the Chargers: WR Ramses Barden, RB Gartrell Johnson, LB Bryan Kehl, OL Adam Koets, DT Dave Tollefson, OT Guy Whimper and WR Sinorice Moss.

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