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Cruz Rebounds From Early Miscues

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Late in the second quarter, Victor Cruz dropped a wide open pass that doesn't get much easier. He and Eli Manning had found such a gaping hole that they tried it again on the very next play.

"I was on a corner route and then the ball went right into the sun and I couldn't locate it," Cruz recalled on the first attempt. "As soon as it came down, it was right at my chest and I tried to make a move and I just dropped it."

Take two.

The second time it was caught, but by 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers for his first of two interceptions.

"It was a different play, but I had the same route," Cruz said. "I beat Rogers, but he just stayed underneath it. The ball was a little low, and he was able to turn around in time before I could and picked it off."

The series of events underscored Cruz's growing pains accompanying his breakout campaign in his second season. Cruz wouldn't find the end zone in Sunday's loss in San Francisco, but the wide receiver led the team with 84 yards, 11 targets and six catches. Manning looked to him four times on the final drive, and Cruz caught three of them, including a fourth-and-five conversion for 10 yards to keep the Giants' hopes alive.

"The goal of this team is to win games, we understand that and we fell short of that today," Cruz said. "Moving forward, we can't have that mentality that we were inside the 10 or inside the 20 and didn't make it and be satisfied with that. We've got to come out with scores and potentially win the game."

Cruz also got his first taste of returning punts when Aaron Ross was injured. Cruz returned three of them for 12 yards, but did spring one for 11 yards.

"I kind of got thrown into the fire a little bit," Cruz said. "Aaron Ross went down, and I just had to come in. And with very little experience back there, I had to come in and just do my job, do what's asked of me, whatever's asked of me by the coaches."Join other diehard Giants Fans!  Follow @Giants

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