For a guy who famously insisted upon his players showing up to meetings five minutes early, Coughlin seems to stop paying attention five minutes before his team's games come to a close. The Giants bungled another favorable fourth-quarter lead on Sunday in ignominious fashion, and again, timekeeping issues were to blame. Once the Giants were finished picking on overmatched Patriots cornerback and advanced the ball near the goal line, they were comfortable favorites to win. With 2:06 remaining and the Patriots leading 24-23, the Giants had first-and-goal from the 5-yard line, giving them a 77.6 percent chance of winning, according to Brian Burke's win probability calculator.
From there, the Giants stuttered. Despite the fact that the Patriots had only one timeout, the Giants dialed up three passing plays, which produced two incompletions and a sack when learned from his prior mistakes and fell down to keep the clock running. While the Giants kicked a field goal to take the lead, they handed the ball back to Brady with 1:50 left, leaving the Patriots with just enough time to scramble downfield and set up for a game-winning 54-yard field goal.
The alternative argument in hindsight, of course, is that the Giants should have run the ball three times before kicking the field goal. Had they done that, they could have handed the ball back to the Patriots with about 1:10 to go, and because the Patriots weren't even on New York's side of the field with 40 seconds to go, the Giants very clearly would have won by running the football. Right? I'm not so sure.