They say that when you decide to try a pass, three things can happen and two of them -- interception and incompletion -- are bad.
That's wrong. There's at least one more and it helped kill the Giants on Sunday night.
Ramses Barden was called for offensive pass interference near the Eagles goal line with 26 seconds left to play in their game against the Eagles. The penalty knocked the Giants back from the 26-yard line to the 36, which meant Lawrence Tynes had to try a 54-yard field goal to win the game.
Did someone say something about replacement refs?
Tynes missed the kick badly, but Eagles coach Andy Reid flashed his eternal ability to mishandle timeouts and called one just before Tynes kicked the ball wide. Tynes got another shot and hit it straighter, but the ball fell just short of the goalpost to give the Eagles a 19-17 win.
The call of a pass to Barden at that point is hard to understand, although we don't know exactly whether Kevin Gilbride dialed up that one or if Eli Manning thought he had something working after the Eagles were flagged for pass interference on Barden twice during the same drive. It backfired pretty severely, though, and the Gians are now 2-2 on the season.
Of course, the Giants were only in that position because they couldn't stop the Eagles from driving the ball for 75 yards for a go-ahead field goal with 1:49 to play. The drive was full of LeSean McCoy busting the Giants on cutbacks for some of his 121 second half yards and Michael Vick scrambling for a key first down when he wasn't connecting on key passes.
It was an odd night for the Giants, with the offense letting the defense down early and the defense letting the offense down late. They shut down the Eagles in the first half, holding McCoy to two rushing yards, before finally yielding a touchdown just before halftime.
The Giants defense also came up with three drive-killing stops in the second half, one of them after Philly had first down from the one-yard line, but they couldn't slow down the Eagles at all after Manning gave the Giants a 17-16 lead with 6:45 to play.
As for Manning and the offense, they couldn't do enough while the defense was shutting down the Eagles in the first half and holding them to field goals in the second. There were some points here and there, but it took them far too long to get things going in Philly.
It was hardly a bad game for Manning, even if he couldn't add another notch to his fourth quarter comeback holste. His biggest mistake came back to haunt him and the team when the night was over.
Manning hit Victor Cruz to convert a fourth down as the third quarter came to an end and the Giants had the ball on the lip of the end zone to start the fourth quarter. Manning seemed to totally misread the defense on the next play, though, and threw a terrible pass that Eagles corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie easily intercepted in the end zone.
At the end of the day, for all the back and forth, that one play is what ultimately sank the Giants on Sunday night. One more score is all they needed to win and it was left hanging over the field like Manning's pass hung over Rodgers-Cromartie.
There were other little mistakes that played as big a role, but two of those bad things that happen when you put the ball in the air wound up deciding the game.