CHICAGO -- If you felt sure Eli Manning was about to take the New York Giants down the field for the game-winning touchdown, you were justified. Manning's done it before, though not since last October, and faith and hope are critical to the ethos of the sports fan.
If you felt sure Manning was going to throw one more interception, you were correct.
The critical drive of Thursday night's 27-21 Giants loss in Chicago was the last possession the Giants had. They got the ball at their own 11-yard line following a third straight excellent punt by the Bears' Adam Podlesh. There was 5:21 left on the clock, and the Bears held a 27-21 lead. Brandon Jacobs started the drive with a 14-yard run. Manning hit Hakeem Nicks in the hands with a pass on the next play, but Nicks dropped the ball. Jacobs ran for 3, then Manning went right back to Nicks for 11 yards and another first down. Jacobs ran for 12, moving the ball across midfield with 3:02 now left on the clock. The Soldier Field crowd grew quiet and nervous.
Then things got shaky. Manning's first-down pass from the Chicago 49 could have been intercepted by Bears cornerback Tim Jennings but wasn't. It was a deep ball intended for backup tight end Larry Donnell, and it fell fortunately incomplete. Da'Rel Scott ran for 13 yards on the next play, but blew out his hamstring doing it and had to be helped off the field. After the break, on first down from the 36, Jacobs got a yard. Then on second-and-9 with the clock running down under two minutes, Manning dropped back to pass. Tight end Brandon Myers was wide open at the 15. Manning threw high. Myers leaped and got a hand on it, but he couldn't catch it, and it fluttered into the arms of Jennings for Manning's third interception of the game and his league-leading 15th of the season.
"I obviously threw it a little too high," Manning would say.
The Bears ran out the clock. The Giants fell to 0-6.