Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Getting the Boot

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Getting the Boot

Article excerpt

EAST RUTHERFORD - The Giants were already reliving the agony of the past on the sideline Sunday afternoon even before Graham Gano's game-winning field goal split the uprights and Carolina stayed undefeated, sending them to another gut-wrenching defeat.

For the third time this season, the Giants lost on a field goal as time expired.

A 28-point rally was rendered irrelevant when the Panthers, in pursuit of perfection, answered Odell Beckham Jr.'s game-tying touchdown catch from Eli Manning by marching 49 yards in eight plays, setting up Gano's heroics in Sunday's 38-35 triumph before a crowd of 79,436 at MetLife Stadium.

New Orleans did it the day after Halloween.

New England followed suit two weeks later.

Then Carolina went out and made three times the charm Sunday - well, at least for the Giants' opponent, shoving their chances at winning the NFC East to the brink of extinction with yet another heartbreaking ending.

Asked if repeated late-game setbacks feel like difficult-to-take stomach punches, Giants coach Tom Coughlin replied: "Sometimes lower."

Simply put, there was also this from Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara: "I don't want to say [it], [but] I'm almost numb to it - because we've been here."

After falling short of what would have been a miracle comeback against undefeated Carolina, the Giants (6-8) will essentially need a miracle of a different sort to reach the playoffs by virtue of capturing the NFC East crown.

They must win their final two games - at Minnesota (Sunday night) and at home against Philadelphia - and Washington must lose its last two games -- both on the road -- to Philadelphia and Dallas.

Arizona's 40-17 victory over the Eagles on "Sunday Night Football" helped the Giants, who would lose a tiebreaker scenario to Philadelphia.

"We are where we are because of what we've done in close games like this," Beckham said.

To ruin perfection, the Giants needed to play a perfect game.

And they didn't, not by a long shot.

Three fourth-quarter touchdowns against Carolina (14-0) could not prevent a finish that - far too many times this season - has felt inevitable. …

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