EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants haven't been able to get much going in the first half today, but the Pittsburgh Steelers have been offering them a lot of help. Penalties and turnovers have been the story as the Giants take a 14-10 lead into halftime.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning is 4-for-12 for 60 yards and an interception so far in the game, but the Giants have picked up a total of 87 yards on two Steelers pass interference penalties. They were unable to convert the second into points as Lawrence Tynes' 51-yard field goal attempt in the half's final minute fell short, but the first one -- a 41-yarder on the Giants' first drive of the second quarter -- helped move the Giants into Steelers territory and set up their first touchdown.
That touchdown was a controversial one, due to another Steelers penalty in the end zone. On third-and-goal from the two-yard line, Manning threw an incomplete pass. But on the play, Steelers safety Ryan Clark was called for a personal foul for a blow to the head of Giants receiver Victor Cruz. Replays showed that Clark did not hit Cruz in the head, and the Giants later announced that Cruz was probable to return (as he did) with a rib injury. Andre Brown ran the ball in for the touchdown after the call on Clark.
On the Steelers' ensuing drive, Giants linebacker Michael Boley picked up a Ben Roethlisberger fumble and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown. Replays showed that Roethlisberger's arm was moving forward when he lost the ball, indicating that it was actually an incomplete pass. But after reviewing the play, the officials determined that the ball was moving in Roethlisberger's hand before his arm started forward, and therefore the play remained as called.
The Steelers' touchdown came after Manning's interception, so each team has helped the other out. But the Steelers have already rushed for 98 yards on 17 carries, gashing the Giants' defense up the middle with Isaac Redman. And if the Giants don't tighten things up on offense and defense, the second half may not go their way to the extent that the first half did.