Giants disappointed after second straight loss
Having the Philadelphia Eagles on tap this weekend could not have come at a better time for the New York Giants. Sure, the Eagles spoiled New York's season a year ago, knocking them off late in the regular season and again in the NFC semifinal at Giants Stadium. But this is the kind of game the Giants (5-2) need to get back on track after dropping consecutive contests to New Orleans and Arizona, the second a stunning 24-17 loss at home before a nationally televised audience on Sunday night. "I could come up with 100 words to describe how upset and disappointed we are," center Shaun O'Hara said. "With this team, we hold ourselves to such a high standard. We were upset with our play after some wins early in the season, but to lose at home like we did last night, really, we think that is unacceptable. That's the standard we set and we know we can play better, and that's the thing that is frustrating. At the same time, we also know we are a good team." That has hardly been the case the past two weeks. Drew Brees threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns two weeks ago as the unbeaten Saints posted a 48-27 win that knocked the Giants from the unbeaten ranks. The defense improved off that performance but the offense went south in the loss that gave the Cardinals (4-2) their third straight win. Kurt Warner made just enough big plays to Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald and Tim Hightower and rookie Beanie Wells each ran for touchdowns, Defensively, the Cardinals stuffed the box with seven and eight players and constantly forced Manning to readjust the players at the line of scrimmage. It resulted in a couple of delay-of-game penalties, three interceptions and a few other bad choices, the most notable being a decision to go deep to Mario Manningham on a third-and-2 from the Cardinals 46 early in the fourth quarter with New York down 24-14. A less risky play might have gotten a first down and kept the drive going. "Football is not always going to be perfect every week," Manning said. "You are going to go through slumps where you are not playing as well as you would like to play. As long as you have a chance to win in the fourth quarter, that is all you can ask for. That is when you have to win a game and we didn't do it yesterday." The Giants actually had two shots in the fourth quarter to tie the game. A 25-yard seam pass to tight end Kevin Boss got the ball to the Giants 42 with 4:03 to play. The Giants also felt Cardinals safety Antrel Rolle was guilty of a helmet-to-helmet hit on the play but a flag was not thrown. On the next play, Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 14 yards but he fumbled trying to get an extra yard and Arizona recovered. New York moved from its own 1 to the Cardinals 39 with 1:15 before Manning was intercepted by Rolle on a sideline pass to Steve Smith. Giants coach Tom Coughlin was disappointed with the performance, saying the execution was poor, the offense didn't move the ball out of its end of the field and the team lost the battle of field position in large part to poor punting by Jeff Feagles. He also said his defense isn't stopping anyone inside its 20-yard line, and that has to improve. Coughlin was most concerned with the tempo of the offense. Too much time was spent adjusting things at the line of scrimmage. "At some point the chess game is over and you live with what's there," Coughlin said. More than the losing streak, Coughlin said he is concentrating on correcting the errors that have popped up the past two weeks. This week, the pressure on the quarterback and coverage were better than against New Orleans. "All three phases have to do it," Coughlin said. "We found a way again not to do that." Playing the Eagles will certainly get the Giants focused this week. "We knew it was going to be a tough battle, we have a long season left," Manning said. "We are 5-2, we're not in a bad spot. We are going to get back to playing better football. We have a big game vs. Philly at Philly, it's a huge game. We know it's going to be a tough battle, but we have to go out there, play well and eliminate the mistakes." When asked if there was going to be a revenge factor for the Giants, Manning just shook his head. "They know what all these games are like and how our season ended last year, but it is a new year and we have to go out and handle our business," Manning said. O'Hara also said getting even wasn't a factor. "Any time the Giants play the Eagles, it's always a big game," he said.