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Jennings: I was told not to score


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Monday, September 14, 2015
Rashad Jennings says Giants told him not to score on consecutive runs

By Dan Graziano
ESPN Staff Writer

New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings confirmed Monday that he was ordered not to score on two run plays inside the Dallas Cowboys' 5-yard line with less than two minutes left in Sunday night's game and the Giants leading by three.

"On the first-down play, I was told, 'Rashad, don't score,'" Jennings said. "On second down, 'Rashad, don't score.' I was tempted to say, 'Forget it,' and go score because I could. But I didn't want to be that guy. But definitely, I was asked not to score."

Jennings said his orders came in the huddle from quarterback Eli Manning, who spoke with him after the game and took responsibility for the way things turned out -- a 27-26 loss. Jennings said he was under the impression that Manning was relaying orders he got from the sideline.

Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo is the Giants' offensive playcaller, but coach Tom Coughlin has the power to overrule him. Coughlin took responsibility for the late-game play calling Sunday night. McAdoo is permitted to speak to the media only once a week, and not after games.

After the game, Jennings told ESPN, "As a running back, it's really tough when they tell you not to score" but didn't elaborate.

Jennings said this was the first time he has been given such an order since he was in college, and back then the reason was that his team had a lead and a chance to run out the clock with the ball still in its hands. That wasn't the case Sunday, but it still was odd to ask Jennings not to score.

Had he scored a touchdown on first down and Josh Brown hit the 33-yard extra point, the Giants would have led by 10 with 1:50 left. Had he scored on second down, there would have been 1:43 left.

Part of the problem was that the Giants were confused about the timeout situation. Jennings said Monday that he and the rest of the team believed the Cowboys had called their final timeout after the first-down play. That was based on the belief that the Cowboys had called their second timeout after Odell Beckham Jr.'s third-down catch the play before.

But Dallas had not been charged with a timeout there. The clock had stopped because the Cowboys were called for an offside penalty on Beckham's catch. Even though the Giants declined the penalty, the rules say the clock stops after such a penalty in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter.

The NFL said the clock used to run on the snap after all penalty calls but that in 1985 the rules were changed to shorten game time, allowing the clock to run following certain penalty calls prior to the 5:00 mark of the fourth quarter.

The league kept the traditional timing rules in place for that critical end-of-game period, as well as for the final two minutes of the first half, because, NFL spokesman Michael Signora said Monday, those are "particularly exciting parts of games" and "there was no desire to reduce the number of plays that might occur in those time segments."

On the first-down play, I was told, "Rashad, don't score." On second down, "Rashad, don't score." I was tempted to say, "Forget it," and go score because I could. But I didn't want to be that guy.

- Giants running back Rashad Jennings, on not scoring at the end of Sunday's game vs. Dallas

When Jennings was told not to score on second down, the Giants believed they would be able to churn 40 seconds off the clock and run their third-down play with a little more than a minute to go. When the Cowboys stopped the clock with 1:43 to go after the second-down run, the Giants were surprised.

As for the runs themselves, Jennings insists he could have scored on either one.

"On one of them it would've been a grind," Jennings said. "But on the other, I cut the wrong way [on purpose] and found somewhere soft to fall."

Jennings and the Giants were obviously disappointed to lose a game they led by three with the ball on the opponent's 1-yard line and less than two minutes to go. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romowent down the field "like a knife through butter," in the words of Coughlin, for the game-winning touchdown after Manning threw an incomplete pass on third down and the Giants settled for a field goal.

But while the instructions surprised him, Jennings wanted to make it clear that he wasn't second-guessing whoever told him not to score.

"I'm not mad," he said. "We're doing this as a team, and we thought it was best for us not to score at that point. Of course I wanted to, but that's just the football player in you."

The night didn't get a lot better for the Giants, whose departure from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport was held up until 4 a.m. CT, delaying their arrival in Newark, New Jersey, to 9 a.m. ET.

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I think the collective brainfarts displayed by MacAddo, Manning, and Coughin are what's most puzzling.. you would think if one is an idiot, the other 2 would cover.... This clusterfuck took a whole lot of work on their part... you don't have to be a football genius to know you don't snap the ball until a second or 2 left on the clock (in that situation), it doesn't take a genius to know that you can either run the ball or take the sack and that you should never throw an incomplete pass...

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Somebody please explain this "strategy" to me because clearly I am missing it. So these fuckwads decided that a 2-score game with under two minutes was preferable to a potential 1-score game with about the same time on the clock. I am dumbfounded. Talk about overthinking yourself out of a win.

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Again, horribly coached team. How does nobody know Dallas was out of time outs? That excuse is getting played. Why is a qb making that call on the field, twice, were the headsets not working,?

They weren't out of timeouts, they had 2.

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I don't get it. Apparently Eli thought they had one timeout left? Dallas did get basically get an extra time out by going offsides. Still a major fuck up

What gets me is Eli's inability to do simple math. A touchdown puts the game out of reach there.

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