The New York Giants have been criticized, deservedly so, for how they managed the clock at the end of what should have been a victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. The NFL has now reportedly told the team that referees blew two calls during the game that, if called correctly, might have kept the Giants from imploding late.
According to NFL.com's Kimberly Jones, the NFL said that pass interference should not have been called on Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on a third-and-4 late in the third quarter. The call gave the Cowboys a first down at the 2-yard line and led to a touchdown that cut the Giants' lead to 16-13. The second call was a missed defensive holding on Eli Manning's third-down pass attempt to Daniel Fells just before the Giants gave the ball back to the Cowboys for their game-winning drive.
The pass interference was discussed at length after the game. Rodgers-Cromartie said that an official came up to him and said that the call was "iffy," but that he had seen the cornerback use wide receiver Terrance Williams' shoulder to jump up and bat the pass away.
"It is what it is," Rodgers-Cromartie said, via the New York Post. "I think it was a bad call, but at the end of the day I have no control over that.
"Nothing I can do about it. He called it. That's the call he made. You gotta live with it and play."
This is the play on which Fells was held. He's in the back of the end zone and was Manning's intended target:
The best decision Manning could have made would have been to take a sack and let the game clock trickle down to approximately one minute before the Giants kicked a fourth-down field goal. He unquestionably had a brain fart when he stopped the clock with an incompletion instead, but he could have been bailed out by a flag that would have almost certainly won the game for the Giants.*
The Giants have yet to release a statement on the matter. It's hard to imagine they'll be too upset if they ultimately do speak up. Despite the missed calls, they still likely would have won the game if they had only taken a moment to understand the clock situation.
*Assuming the Giants weren't doomed to mental calamity anyway.