EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Despite a couple of heartbreaking last-minute losses, the New York Giants just might have a shot at turning around things in the unsettled NFC East.
The division seemingly is wide open with Dallas (2-0) dealing with injuries to quarterback Tony Romo and receiver Dez Bryant, Philadelphia still winless, and Washington (1-1) having much to prove.
There is no doubt the Giants need to get better. They had themselves in position to beat the Cowboys and Atlanta and either didn’t make any plays late to put games away or made unforgiveable mental mistakes – such as Eli Manning telling a running back not to score because Manning lost track of timeouts .
It had many questioning whether the Giants know how to win after missing the playoffs the past three seasons. Some Giants questioned themselves.
The reality is there are 14 games left, and that’s a lot, especially in this muddled division.
Coach Tom Coughlin said Monday he intends to tell the team that the opportunity is there, starting with Thursday’s game against the Redskins at MetLife Stadium.
"It’s just a way to try to again get over the disappointment of yesterday as fast as we can," Coughlin said of the 24-20 loss to the Falcons. "We realize how important it is going forward."
The Giants have had games there for the taking and let them slip away. They led Dallas 23-13 with 8:01 to play in the fourth quarter and were outscored 14-3, with Romo throwing two touchdown passes to tight end Jason Witten, the last one with :07 to play. New York mismanaged the clock badly in the final minutes.
In losing to the Falcons, the Giants were outscored 14-0 in the fourth quarter. They had a chance to rally, getting a first down at the midfield with two timeouts, but failed to move any closer.
Manning wasn’t sure that learning to win was the issue.
"You just have to believe you’re going to get it done," he said. "When things might be going great, there’s always going to be little lulls or a possession or two that don’t go your way, and you’ve got to be able to bounce back. You can’t let the demeanor or mood get down. So we’ve got to stay positive and keep pushing and fight through those times."
Coughlin said the Giants hurt themselves settling for field goals in the red zone. There were also foolish penalties, such as a delay of game and another when receiver Dwayne Harris was not set for a second before a snap.
"Sooner or later, we just have to settle down and play the way we’re capable of playing when the game is on the line," Coughlin said. "I don’t know how to say it any more simply. The information comes forth from the sideline, you have X amount of time to digest it all, but then you have to go pull the trigger."
Linebacker Devon Kennard feels the Giants can play with anyone.
"I think we’ve got a resilient team and I don’t think it kills anybody’s confidence," he said of the bad start. "It’s most definitely frustrating, but you’ve got to move on. It’s a short week this week, and we’re already on to Washington and not worrying about the last two weeks and what could’ve, would’ve, should’ve been."
Manning isn’t worried either, and he isn’t looking for anyone to pick him up. The two-time Super Bowl MVP knows he has made mistakes, and he has to correct them. He also knows he can win games.
"I think my confidence just comes from, ‘Hey, I’ve made plays. I’ve made comebacks. I know I can do it," he said. "I go out in practice, I make the throws. I feel good about where I am in the offense and how I’m feeling, how I’m throwing. I’ve got to keep just working. Try to make sure I make the throws when we need them."
NOTES: Coughlin had no word on injuries to LT Erick Flowers (ankle) and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (concussion/stinger). LB Jon Beason (knee) will continue to work, but there is no word on whether he’ll be ready for Washington. … WR Victor Cruz (calf) still has not been cleared to practice. … Coughlin said CB Jayron Hosley had good and bad moments filling in for Rodgers-Cromartie, but competed well.
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