EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — At some point this year, the New York Giants may learn how to finish games.
It’s been their weakness all season and it got them again on Sunday for the fourth time.
Tom Brady drove the New England Patriots 44 yards in 12 plays with no time outs to set up a game-winning 54-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski with 1 second remaining for a 27-26 victory over New York.
The win kept the Patriots (9-0) perfect and left the Giants (5-5) wondering how they let another one slip away.
“This is tough, this is tough,” veteran defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said. “We had chances there to end it. The game was right there and there were even times you thought it was over. They just made enough plays to get us at the end.”
In the last two minutes, the Giants had three chances to put the game away.
— Odell Beckham didn’t secure a touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone with 2:06 to go which would have given them a 29-23 lead. He allowed Malcolm Butler to knock the ball out of his hands after thinking it was a TD because he had two feet down.
“That’s on me,” Beckham said.
Josh Brown eventually kicked his franchise-record 27th straight field goal from 29 yards to put New York up 26-24 with 1:47 to play.
It was more than enough time for Brady and the Patriots, but the last drive should have ended on the first play.
Brady was hit throwing the ball and it rainbowed down the middle of the field to a waiting Landon Collins. All he had to do was catch it to end the game. He tried to grab the ball at its high point, seemingly lost his balance and fell to turf, hitting his head and losing the ball.
“Play’s there, you have to make the play,” a frustrated coach Tom Coughlin said.
Brady eventually converted a fourth-and-10 on the series and Gostkowski, the NFL’s leading scorer the last three seasons, sent his winning kick soaring through the uprights.
“We talked about it before the game that we just need to play hard for 60 minutes and it took every second.
The Giants came up a second short, just like they did against Dallas, Atlanta and New Orleans earlier in the season.
“It’s very frustrating,” cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. “There’s plenty of times this season we had the opportunity to win and we just didn’t. It’s very, very frustrating. We had the opportunity to seal the game and didn’t come up with it. We just got to find a way to win.”
New York has given the Patriots fits under Coughlin, including two Super Bowl wins, and nearly pulled off another victory.
Brown’s go-ahead field goal was set up when Trumaine McBride intercepted Brady at the goal line, setting up an 86-yard, 15-play march to Brown’s field goal.
Both Beckham and New England’s Rob Gronkowski had the longest TD catches of their careers: Beckham for 87 yards and Gronkowski for 76.
The Patriots marched downfield with the opening kickoff on a 14-play, 80-yard drive. Backup tight end Scott Chandler capped it with a 1-yard reception, giving New England a point in an NFL-record 32 straight quarters. They extended it to 35 with Gostkowski’s second-quarter field goal; LeGarrette Blount’s 1-yard TD run following Amendola’s 82-yard punt runback in the third — the longest of Amendola’s career; and the long pass to Gronkowski on which New York’s Craig Dahl and Brandon Meriweather collided.
But they also were plagued by critical pass interference penalties, and lost top receiver Julian Edelman in the first half with a foot injury. Of course, they still had Brady and Gostkowski.
The Giants, still in first place in the NFC East, controlled long portions of the game.
Just 51 seconds after Chandler’s touchdown, Beckham stunned the Patriots with a spectacular reaching catch-and-run.
The Giants had another quick drive in them, ending the first half by covering 74 yards in 54 seconds. The seven-play series included Elli Manning’s 31-yard passes to Rueben Randle and Will Tye, the latter getting to the Patriots 1.
Manning, as sharp as ever in the first half, hit Dwayne Harris in the back left corner of the end zone for a 17-10 halftime edge. Manning had a career-best for one half of 251 yards passing. Brady had 127.
Manning got plenty of help from New England mistakes to start the second half: 36 yards on a pair of pass interference penalties. Brown made a 38-yard field goal to end that possession. He later hit a 53-yarder for a 23-17 lead.
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