Jennings carried the ball twice inside the Cowboys’ five-yard line around the two-minute mark of the fourth quarter, but avoided the end zone because Giants’ coaches lost track of Dallas’s remaining timeouts.
“They told me not to score,” Jennings said, according to NJ.com.
Confusion over penalties and clock stoppages caused New York to miscalculate the number of timeouts Dallas had at the end of the game. Jennings avoided the end zone on his runs to take more time off the clock, but the Cowboys called a timeout after each run.
In a conference call Monday, head coach Tom Coughlin denied that he told Rashad Jennings not to score and suggested Eli Manning may have been confused.
“His mind was in the right place,” said Coughlin. “He just didn’t have his facts right ... my intent was to be up 10.”
According to a Monday report by Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News, Eli Manning told the coaches on the sidelines before the second down play that he was the one telling Jennings not to score.
Vacchiano also reported that Manning told Jennings, “If they let you score go down on the 1-inch line.”
A score would have given the Giants a 10-point lead.
New York eventually lost 27–26 after Tony Romoengineered a game-winning drive starting with fewer than two minutes remaining. The Giants could have given the Cowboys less time to score, but mismanaged the clock near the end of the game.
After the two Jennings runs, quarterback Eli Manning threw the ball away instead of taking a sack on third down. At that point, Dallas had no timeouts remaining. Had Manning taken a sack, New York could have taken another 40 seconds off the clock.
Manning said Monday, “I need to do a better job understanding circumstances and situations.”
The Giants will play the Falcons in Week 2.
- Rohan Nadkarni, Kenny Ducey and Kayla Lombardo