In a snap, the Giants' fortunes took off
PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Steelers, stretched thin by injuries and their own mistakes, repeatedly kept the New York Giants out of their end zone.
Then, a game the Steelers were controlling turned dramatically when they couldn't stay out of that end zone themselves.
Eli Manning threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Boss with 3:11 remaining for the Giants' only touchdown after they tied it several minutes before on a bizarre safety.
Emergency snapper James Harrison snapped the ball out of the end zone to give New York 2 pivotal points, and the Giants rallied to beat Pittsburgh, 21-14, yesterday in a matchup of division leaders.
The resilient Steelers (5-2), playing with backups all over the field, tried to make up for Ben Roethlisberger's four interceptions and five sacks by turning two big-play scores into a 14-12 lead they preserved with a goal-line stand midway through the fourth quarter.
The Super Bowl champion Giants (6-1) tied it with 6:48 remaining when Pro Bowl linebacker Harrison, playing center due to long snapper Greg Warren's torn anterior cruciate ligament, snapped the ball over punter Mitch Berger's head.
"Nobody has two long snappers on their team; what you have are emergency snappers," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "James Harrison is regarded as the lead candidate. We got some snaps on the sideline and we felt comfortable . . . We just weren't able to get it done.
"That was the first game I have been involved in that we didn't have a snapper."
John Carney kicked four field goals for New York, hitting from 26, 35, 25, and 24 yards - an indication of how many times the Giants threatened but couldn't get into the end zone against the NFL's top-ranked defense until Boss scored.
Manning, held in check most of the game, finally took advantage of the tiring and depleted Steelers defense by finding Steve Smith for 25 yards to the 25 on the decisive drive.
Brandon Jacobs followed with an 8-yard run, and Manning hit Plaxico Burress for 8 yards ahead of Derrick Ward's 7-yard run. The touchdown pass to Boss came on a second-and-2 play.
"Things weren't going well at times and it's easy to get frustrated, but we didn't," Manning said. "We hung in there tough and found a way to win."