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Time Bomb


How crummy clock management ruined a promising season and undid a two-time Super Bowl--winning coach: The story of Tom Coughlin's 2015 Giants

WEEK 1atCowboys

With 1:43 remaining, leading 23--20, the Giants have third-and-goal at Dallas's one. Pro Football Reference pegs New York's chances of winning at 97.7%. The Cowboys are out of timeouts, but Eli Manning stops the clock with an incompletion. Had the Giants run or taken a sack, they could have milked 40 ticks; instead they kick a FG, take a six-point lead and give Tony Romo 1:29 to march 72 yards and win—which he does.

DAL 27, NYG 26

WEEK 2vs.Falcons

The Giants have the ball on Atlanta's 14-yard line with 4:27 left in the third quarter, leading 20--10. (Win probability: 97.6%.) On third-and-two Big Blue decide to pass, and Manning loses a strip-sack. Later, with 3:27 left in the fourth and the Giants facing third-and-seven at their own 39, up 20--17, they still have a 73.7% chance. But a delay-of-game penalty stalls their drive, and they punt. The Falcons go 70 yards in 1:58 to score the winning TD.

ATL 24, NYG 20

WEEK 8atSaints

A Trumaine McBride pick-six with 7:11 left gives the Giants a 49--42 lead and a 96.4% win probability. But Drew Brees leads the Saints on a 15-play drive in 6:35 to tie the game with 36 seconds remaining. Instead of running out the clock and playing for OT, New York throws three times, calls two timeouts and punts, leaving 20 seconds. After a Giants face mask penalty on the return, Kai Forbath kicks a 50-yard FG as time expires.

NO 52, NYG 49

WEEK 10vs.Patriots

With 2:06 left and the Giants on the Pats' five-yard line, trailing 24--23, they have a 71.5% win probability. If Manning kneels three times and New York kicks a FG, New England, with one timeout left (plus the two-minute warning), can stop the clock only on the first two downs; and Tom Brady can get the ball back with a little over one minute left. Instead the Giants throw incomplete on first and second down, stopping the clock, and Manning gets sacked on third. The Pats get the ball with 1:47 left and Stephen Gostkowski nails a 54-yard FG as the clock ticks to :01.

NE 27, NYG 26

WEEK 13vs.Jets

With 10:47 remaining and facing first-and-10 from the Jets' 12, leading 20--10, the Giants have a 99.2% win probability. But instead of running down the clock and kicking a FG, they pass on second and third down, leading to fourth-and-two at the Jets' four. The Giants then forgo the easy FG and Manning throws an INT. The Jets score 10 points in the game's final 8:42 and win in overtime.

NYJ 23, NYG 20