If that was Curtis Riley’s last play in a Giants uniform, it was both memorable for those who watched it and forgettable for the safety himself.
The cornerback made little to no effort to tackle Cowboys tight end Blake Jarwin on a catch late in the third quarter, instead opening a clear lane for the final 10 yards of a 39-yard touchdown in the Giants’ 36-35 loss Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
After that play — which put the Cowboys up 21-10 with 5:00 left in the third quarter — Riley did not see the field again, as coach Pat Shurmur used Sean Chandler and Tony Lippett at his free safety spot the rest of the way.
“I should have made the play,” Riley told The Post. “That’s just it.”
Jarwin caught the third-down pass from Dak Prescott just inside the 20-yard line with multiple Giants around him. Chandler fell down in coverage, B.W. Webb overran the pass and Kenny Ladler dove trying to bring down Jarwin from behind.
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Riley had the best shot of stopping Jarwin, seemingly waiting for him at the 10-yard line, except he hardly touched him, slipping just to the left and barely grazing arms. Asked if there was a reason he held up from making contact, Riley said no.
“I should have just made the play,” he said. “But I didn’t make it.”
“It was just a weird deal,” Jarwin said of his third touchdown of the game — the first three of his career. “I kind of just floated and Dak threw a perfect ball. I just kind of started running.”
Riley said he didn’t get an explanation for why he was taken out of the game, but “I don’t need one.”
“I’m straight,” he said. “They made a decision that they needed to make.”
Shurmur was asked if benching Riley was a way of reminding his players what he expects of them.
“Yeah,” Shurmur said. “You’ve got to fight and you’ve got to play and you’ve got to lay it all out there. We as coaches got to do our very best to put you in the best decision to do those things. That’s fair.”
Riley, a pending free agent, started all 16 games this season and was second on the team with four interceptions, but also struggled in letting up some big plays before his final blunder on Sunday.
“A guy like Dak, if he starts running around, you just got to play harder and longer,” fellow safety Michael Thomas said. “It’s unfortunate. But I feel like Curt handled it well.”
As for the loss, Riley was frustrated seeing a similar ending play out again as the Giants coughed up their fourth-quarter lead.
“That [stuff] sucks,” he said. “We should have won.”
Tackling Jarwin might have helped.