The fact that the Giants and Steelers were playing in New Jersey less than a week after Hurricane Sandy dealt the state a heavy blow was the dominant storyline heading into Sunday afternoon’s game, but the officials stole the spotlight before the first half was out.
Two questionable calls (and one totally missed illegal block in the back) helped hand the Giants 14 points in less than two minutes in the second quarter. The Giants used those points to overcome an otherwise sluggish first half and take a 14-10 lead into the locker room. Eli Manning is 4-of-12 for 60 yards and an interception, although he’s picked up 87 more yards on pass interference penalties on deep shots down the field leading to flags on Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis.
The Steelers have gotten a strong half from Isaac Redman — 14 carries for 87 yards — but two sacks of Ben Roethlisberger have kept the offense from generating much momentum outside of a touchdown drive following the interception thrown by Manning. The Steelers have the ball to start the second half so they certainly have every chance to overcome any bad fortune from the officials and turn this game into a victory.
That’s good because it would be a shame to see the game decided only by the whims of the men in the striped pajamas. The second half can still shift the storyline of the game away from them and back to the people we all want to see deciding the outcome.