Clutch Play by Special Teams

From Associated Press

The New York Giants' special teams threw a changeup of sorts.

The much-maligned unit came up big twice, once after failing to win the game early in overtime, then after getting a gift from the Jets.

Brett Conway atoned for a missed field-goal try early in overtime by kicking a 29-yarder with four seconds to go, and the Giants overcame a four-touchdown performance by Chad Pennington with a 31-28 victory Sunday.

"I told him I had a feeling he was going to get another chance," Giant holder Jeff Feagles said of Conway. "It's kind of ironic, we missed the field goal, but then we won the game with the blocked field goal. I'm very happy for our special teams. We finally made some plays."

The unit was the big reason the Giants (4-4) came into the game needing a win as much as the Jets (2-6). Twice already this season, special teams mistakes turned wins into defeats. It appeared ready to become three when the Jets drove to the Giant 32 and were faced with a fourth and three with about four minutes to play.

Jet Coach Herman Edwards thought about it, then sent Doug Brien onto the field.

"It is a tough kick, but we are trying to win the game," Edwards said. "You can second-guess and say we should have punted, but we are trying to win the game."

Brien was still in pre-kick routine when long snapper James Dearth snapped the ball because the play clock was down to one second. The Jets had no timeouts remaining.

Brien got the kick off, but Will Allen came off the right wing and blocked it.

Allen said Dearth tipped off the snap.

"He closes his fingers on the ball just before he snaps it, and as soon as he closed them I took off," Allen said.

The block gave the Giants the ball at their 36. Kerry Collins, who threw for two touchdowns and 303 yards, put his team in position to win with passes of 19 yards to Amani Toomer and 12 yards to Tiki Barber.

Conway, who said his curling first kick from 39 yards probably would have been good from 35, didn't miss his second chance.

"I'm a little upset," Conway said. "It's great we won, but they hired me to make the first one."

The loss left the Jets with the prospect of winning seven of their final eight games to have an outside shot at the playoffs.

Despite three turnovers, Pennington was outstanding in his first start this season. He threw for 281 yards and four scores, the last a nine-yarder to tight end Anthony Becht with 29 seconds left in regulation.

The touchdown pass capped a 12-play, 86-yard drive that was ignited by a roughing-the-passer penalty against linebacker Mike Barrow. Pennington kept it alive with a 15-yard pass to Santana Moss on fourth and one.

Moss earlier caught touchdown passes of eight, 25 and 11 yards.

"It is devastating, because we are so close," said Moss, who had 10 catches for 121 yards.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World