EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** As they search for a way to end a losing streak that has reached seven games, perhaps the Giants need to adjust their halftime adjustments.
In their 12 games this season, the Giants have outscored their opponents, 110-66 points, in the second quarter. Only four teams – New England, Denver, Green Bay and Pittsburgh – have scored more second-quarter points (Indianapolis also has 110). In their 25-24 loss yesterday in Jacksonville, the Giants outscored the Jaguars in the second quarter, 21-3.
But when they come out to play the second half, the Giants seem to be a different team. They have been outscored in the third quarter, 109-34. Only five teams have scored fewer points (including the Jets, who play Monday night). Yesterday, the Giants were outscored 13-0 in the third quarter and 22-3 in the second half.
So what exactly is happening?
"I don't have a reason, I don't have an explanation," quarterback Eli Manning said today. "We have to be better, we have to be better in the second half of all these games. That is where games are won. It is usually going to come down to that third and fourth quarter, who plays football. That is where the situations of the game come. You are going to be up a little bit, you are going to be down a little bit. You've got to play to the circumstances of the game and make the plays in that time to win the game. We are not making the plays; we are making mistakes, we are not making enough plays in that situation to win the games."
"I told our team today I have made the following statement way too many times, particularly the last three games, which have been extremely close games. As a matter of fact, all three of them coming down to the last two or three minutes," coach Tom Coughlin said today. "Our inability to play the full 60 minutes, to have a half disappear with only three points offensively, to not take the ball away from the opponent, not to get turnovers and put ourselves in a better field position, those things really did do us in."
In Jacksonville, the Giants scored only three points on seven second-half offensive possessions.
"From the offensive standpoint, it is not so much the end of the game that has been the exact problem," Manning said. "It is somewhere in that third or fourth quarter when we are making mistakes at that point to put the (opposing) team back in contention and give them a chance to get back in and making it tough on our defense. We have to do a better job. You can almost give yourself a great opportunity to win the game and the third quarter and the second half to give yourself a bigger lead and not hurt yourself. I think we have to do a better job of that, when we have a team kind of down and on the ropes a little bit to finish at that point.
"I think we've done some good things in the second half or when we have been down and responded to get good opportunities to win the game. In the 49ers game, we just didn't make plays. We are down there at the four-yard line and we've got to make a play. This past game, we just had too many bad plays in the third and fourth quarter to put us down and let the defense score points on us."
- Coughlin said he expected tackle Justin Pugh to return to action when the Giants play the Tennessee Titans in Nashville on Sunday. Pugh missed the last two games with a quad injury.
- The coach said he did not have updates on the players that were injured yesterday, including offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz (ankle), defensive end Robert Ayers (pectoral), running back Rashad Jennings (ankle) and tackle James Brewer (concussion).
"They've all (been) distributed to the various hospitals trying to find some things out," Coughlin said. "I hear you and I'm in the same boat trying to figure out… Jerry (Reese) and I were just talking about the roster. At this point, I've got to hold off until I get the information."
- Defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka started the season's first 11 games, but did not travel to Jacksonville because of a knee injury.
"He tried to work (on Friday) and he had issues with the knee," Coughlin said. "The knee was swollen and partially locked on Saturday morning and that's why the decision was made that he was going to be ruled out and would not travel. They didn't think it was smart to have him travel at that time."
20 photos that tell the story of Sunday's Giants vs. Jaguars game