EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Maybe Steve McNair should skip every Tennessee practice.
|Joe Nedney exults after his game-winning field goal. (AP)|
"Steve did a tremendous job of guiding the team to victory," said receiver Derrick Mason, who had 12 catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. "His ribs are battered. His feet are hurting and he still scrambled to put us in position (on the game-tying score). To me, Steve is the best quarterback in the NFL."
McNair, who was 30-of-43 for 334 yards, also is the reason the Titans (7-5) have won six of seven and are in the thick of the playoff chase, unlike the Giants (6-6).
"We can't even look at the playoffs any more," Giants running back Tiki Barber said after their second straight loss. "We don't control what happens any more. We have to rely on other teams to lose. The one thing we can control is to win."
McNair didn't know until game time whether he was going to play. He was still in pain three hours before kickoff, but he felt better as the game got close.
"I felt I was going to play as long as I didn't take a hit or aggravate it any further," said McNair, who bounced back after throwing three interceptions in a loss to Baltimore last weekend.
The Giants had their chances to put the Titans away late in the fourth quarter when they got a first-and-goal from Tennessee's 1 following a 34-yard pass from Kerry Collins to Amani Toomer.
However, the Giants lost a yard in three plays and settled for Matt Bryant's 19-yard field goal to take a 29-21 lead with 2:21 to go.
McNair made the Giants pay for not punching the ball in, driving 81 yards in 12 plays. He hit tight end Frank Wycheck on a 9-yard TD pass with 9 seconds to play. After a video review allowed the catch, McNair strolled into the end zone on a quarterback draw to tie the game at 29.
McNair said the Giants double-teamed his receivers, so he decided on the draw.
"I knew that's what I had to do," he said.
The Giants received the overtime kickoff and got to the Titans' 46 going into a stiff wind. But Toomer was called for offensive pass interference, nullifying a gain to the Titans' 32.
|Jeremy Shockey stiff-arms Titans safety Tank Williams. (AP)|
Eddie George, who broke Earl Campbell's franchise rushing record early in the game, also scored on a 1-yard run. He didn't play much in the final half as the Titans used an empty backfield.
McNair also threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Mason and a 26-yarder to Bennett just before halftime for a 14-10 lead.
Collins threw TD passes of 1 yard to Dan Campbell and 24 yards to Ron Dixon. Barber scored on a 1-yard run.
The Giants got the wind at the start of the second half and took advantage.
Collins, who was 22-of-36 for 283 yards, hit Dixon to give New York the lead. Barber scored early in the fourth quarter on a score set up by a pass interference penalty against Tank Williams, and New York went for the 2-point conversion. Collins' pass fell incomplete, a decision that came back to haunt New York.
Michael Strahan set up Bryant's early 38-yard field goal by sacking McNair and forcing a fumble that Dhani Jones recovered at the Titans 37. Strahan has at least half a sack in 10 straight games, tying an NFL record held Jevon Kearse (1999) and Simon Fletcher (1991).
- Giants CB Jason Sehorn got his second start of the year with Will Peterson sidelined with a concussion. He led the Giants with 11 tackles, nine solo
- Giants MLB Mike Barrow left in the third quarter with a concussion.
- Titans CB Samari Rolle missed the second half with a shoulder injury.
- Tennessee LB Keith Bullock pulled a hamstring.
- Tennessee outgained New York 476-345, including 142-62 on the ground.
- Six of Barber's first 10 rushes were for minus yards. He finished with 22 carries for 64 yards.
- There were only six punts in the game.
The Associated Press News Service
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