Giants haven't learned from punt mistakes

November 2, 2015

The New York Giants have another punt to lament.

Five years ago, DeSean Jackson returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown on the final play to give the Eagles a victory over New York. Giants coach Tom Coughlin immediately scolded rookie punter Matt Dodge on the field for not kicking the ball out of bounds and giving Jackson an opportunity to win the game.

Well, it happened again.

With 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter at New Orleans on Sunday, the Giants were punting from their 25. Brad Wing kicked the ball to Marcus Murphy instead of booting it out of bounds.


Murphy returned the 46-yard punt 24 yards to the Giants 47. Making it worse, a face-mask penalty on Wing, of all people, put the ball at the 32 and allowed Kai Forbath to kick a 50-yard field goal to win it for the Saints.

Coughlin didn't yell at Wing the way he admonished Dodge in 2010. He blamed the return on the coverage team instead.

''We kicked it in such a way that we should have had better coverage,'' Coughlin said. ''Where the coverage is, I don't know.''

Here are other interesting calls from Week 8:

HANDS OFF THE RECEIVER: Tie game. 1:11 left. Third-and-19 for the Ravens at the Chargers 43. Joe Flacco overthrew Kamar Aiken on a deep ball down the right sideline, but Steve Williams pushed the receiver to the ground. It was an obvious pass interference penalty and put the Ravens in field-goal range.

A few plays later, Justin Tucker hit the winning kick to give San Diego its fourth consecutive loss and third defeat on the final play. It was a costly mistake by Williams, who didn't even have to defend Aiken that closely on a ball thrown out of his reach.


ALL OR NOTHING: The Saints trailed the New York Giants 49-42 with 5:51 left and faced a fourth-and-1 at their 29. Most coaches would punt in that situation because there was enough time to get another possession if the defense held. But Sean Payton went for it instead of playing it safe. Mark Ingram ran 2 yards to keep the drive going, and Drew Brees capped it with his seventh TD pass, a 9-yard toss to C.J. Spiller to tie it. The defense forced a three-and-out and New Orleans won on a last-second field goal.


GIVE IT TO DEVONTA: Matt Ryan led the Falcons back from a 20-3 deficit against Tampa Bay and forced overtime with a pair of TD passes. After the Buccaneers took a 23-20 lead in OT, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan kept the ball in Ryan's hands. Ryan completed two passes for 24 yards to the Falcons 44, where they faced second-and-5. Ryan had thrown seven straight passes to that point. Devonta Freeman, who had 88 yards rushing on 21 carries, hadn't run the ball in almost one quarter of action. It was the ideal time for a change of pace, but Shanahan stuck with the pass. Ryan got sacked, fumbled and Freeman recovered for a 2-yard loss. Ryan then threw incomplete on the next two plays to end the game.


A PENALTY THAT DOESN'T PENALIZE: With Seattle leading Dallas 13-12 and 22 seconds remaining, the Cowboys were in desperation mode. Matt Cassel was sacked on fourth-and-16 from the Dallas 29. That should've ended the game, but the Cowboys were called for an illegal shift. The penalty becomes a false start at that point of a game and calls for a 5-yard penalty and a 10-second runoff on the clock. So, the penalty negated the play and gave the Cowboys one more chance to do something miraculous. They didn't. The Seahawks won.

But the defense should be allowed to decline in that case. It has cost teams in the past when kickers missed field goals only to get another chance because of a false start.


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