Giants 21, Bengals 20: Giants Edge Bengals as Eli Manning Passes for Three Touchdowns


Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) being taken down by the Giants in the fourth quarter. Defensive end Olivier Vernon (54) was credited with the sack.

Seth Wenig/Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Instead of cheers, a nervous ripple coursed through the crowd at MetLife Stadium. The kicker had not left the sideline. Yes, the Giants were going for it. From the 3-yard line.

It was a brazen gamble, the Giants facing fourth down, trailing the Cincinnati Bengals by 6 points early in the fourth quarter, with momentum having slipped away in the third. But the Giants players were not surprised: Coach Ben McAdoo had told them they were likely to use all four downs on the drive.

“We kind of expected it,” running back Rashad Jennings said.

The instinctive faith in quarterback Eli Manning could easily have backfired, since the target on the play, Sterling Shepard, had just dropped a pass on a key third-down conversion attempt a few minutes earlier.

But Shepard held onto this one, a 3-yard touchdown reception on a shallow crossing route that ultimately represented…

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