Much has been made about the Panthers beating the Giants on Sunday on Graham Gano‘s 63-yard last-second field goal. Little has been made about the fact that Gano’s field goal wasn’t actually “last second.”
In reality, there was one second left on the clock after Gano’s field goal, which means the Panthers had to kick off. And the Giants nearly returned that kickoff for a touchdown.
It hasn’t been talked about much this week, probably because most people watching the game switched to another game (or had it switched for them by the local affiliate), but the Giants had a real chance at using a multiple-lateral, “Stanford band” type of play and turning it into a touchdown.
The kickoff (video here) went deep into the end zone and was initially fielded by Odell Beckham, who brought it out from the back of the end zone and got to about the 20-yard line before he lateraled to Elijhaa Penny. Penny quickly pitched it to Sterling Shepard, who ran it past the 40-yard line before flipping the ball to Jawill Davis. Davis looked like he had quite a bit of room to run along the left sideline, but he couldn’t get a handle on the ball when Shepard pitched it to him, and the ball went out of bounds to end the game.
The play was unusual in that Gano kicked it deep into the end zone, and that Beckham decided to bring it out of the end zone. Usually in that situation teams prefer squib kicks, and if the ball goes into the end zone the receiving team usually settles for a touchback and tries to score on a multiple-lateral play on offense from the 25-yard line.
It didn’t work, but it was a fun play that deserved a little bit of attention. Which it didn’t get on Sunday.