The Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) scored 14 fourth-quarter points to top the sluggish Giants (6-3) 24–20 Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
“That’s as disappointing a loss as we’ve had around here in a long time,” said head coach Tom Coughlin. “We wanted emotionally so badly to win the game for obvious reasons, for all our neighbors who are struggling and who need some type of inspiration. Of course, we didn’t provide it for them.”
Despite their play, the Giants actually led 20–10 heading into the final quarter, but gave up a quick 51-yard touchdown reception to wide receiver Mike Wallace that pulled the Steelers within three with 14:16 left. Wallace finished with three catches for 66 yards.
After a Giants’ three-and-out, their first of three in the fourth quarter, punt returner Emmanuel Sanders returned Steve Weatherford’s kick 63 yards to the Giants’ 12-yard-line. Coughlin’s defense held strong though, forcing the Steelers into a fourth-and-one at the three where they tried a fake field goal. The Giants weren’t fooled though and stopped kicker Shaun Suisham short of the first down to retain their lead with 10:30 remaining.
“I thought we were as excited as could be coming off the sidelines greeting our players,” said Coughlin of the possible momentum-changing play.
Any momentum gained by the stop though was lost by the offense’s second straight three-and-out series. The Steelers then took over at midfield (their own 49) and went 51 yards in 9 plays for the go-ahead touchdown to lead 24–20. Roethlisberger threw for 26 yards on the drive and finished with 216 yards on 21-for-30 passing with a pair of touchdowns and an interception.
Even though armed with the game’s best clutch thrower the Giants couldn’t rally. In fact they couldn’t even get a first down and were fortunate to retain possession as Eli Manning, who led the league last season in fourth-quarter comebacks, coughed up the ball while being sacked by linebacker LaMarr Woodley on third down.
Manning actually had problems the whole game finishing 10-for-24 passing for 125 yards and an interception.
“I don’t feel like I’m throwing the ball inaccurately, I don’t feel like I’m missing guys, so I think it’s just a matter of getting back offensively to where we’re playing fast, making good decisions, guys are winning, and we’ll hit them,” said Manning.
After another Weatherford punt, Pittsburgh got the ball back at their own 28 with 2:52 remaining. Two plays and two timeouts later, the defense which had somewhat weathered good days by Roethlisberger and third-string running back Isaac Redman, who went for 147 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries, forced the Steelers into a third-and-nine. But Roethlisberger found Emmanuel Sanders open for a 16-yard gain to extend the drive and force Coughlin to use his final timeout.
Redman then put the game away with a 28-yard run.