Had the Giants defeated the Seattle Seahawks, today their mood would be different, but not their mission.
A victory, which seemed eminently possible in the game's waning moments, would have elicited the usual congratulations and celebrations. But it wouldn't have masked shortcomings the Giants need to address. Now the Giants must look to improve and prepare for their upcoming game against the Buffalo Bills while trying to rid themselves of a 36-25 loss to Seattle that ended their three-game winning streak.
"Not as much fun (holding a postmortem news conference after a loss)," said Coach Tom Coughlin, whose team is 3-2. "It was kind of fun for three weeks. I like it better the other way."
Despite committing numerous errors (including five turnovers, though one with 15 seconds remaining had nothing to do with the outcome, and two crucial late penalties), the Giants were in position to pull off a fourth-quarter comeback for the third week in a row. They moved inside the Seattle 10-yard line twice in the final six minutes. The first time, a false start penalty on Jake Ballard moved them back to the 12 and Lawrence Tynes kicked a field goal to give the Giants a 25-22 lead.
After a defensive breakdown left rookie Doug Baldwin wide open to catch a 27-yard touchdown pass and give Seattle a 29-25 advantage, the Giants responded by driving 75 yards for a first-and-goal at the five. But Will Beatty was flagged for a false start. On the next play, Eli Manning's pass caromed off Victor Cruz, hit safety Kam Chancellor and flew into the hands of cornerback Brandon Browner, who returned it 94 yards for the clinching touchdown.
, who has missed the last two games with neck and groin injuries. "We're not running or stopping the run as we have in the past. That has to change if we're going to have any success this year."
"There are a lot of things that we did that are nowhere near Giant football," linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka said. "That was a big part of it. We have to get those things corrected. That goes back to everyone taking accountability. Let's hold each other accountable and figure it out."
The sooner the better. Buffalo, which is 4-1, has the league's fourth-ranked rushing attack with an average of 138.2 yards a game.
"You have to be able to defend the run or you're not going to have much of a chance," Coughlin said.
The Giants gave themselves chances yesterday. Now they have to find a way to capitalize on them.
*Before Baldwin caught the go-ahead touchdown pass, Osi Umenyiora jumped offside. Several defensive players mistakenly stopped, letting the receiver run alone down the field.
"The players took responsibility for it," Coughlin said. "You have to keep playing. We didn't keep playing."
Coughlin was asked if the defensive backs heard a whistle.
"I don't think so," he said. "I think we just failed to continue to play and take the guy down the seam because they thought the play was over. Don't ask me how. There's nobody making any excuses about that. They realized that they should have played the play. When you're on the offensive side of the ball and something happens defensively and it's a penalty, you want to continue to play the play for that exact reason, because there is no taking the ball away, obviously. That penalty and what happened when we stopped playing and the two illegal procedure penalties, they just make you scratch your head. In order to win, you have to maintain your poise, you have to be disciplined. You have to be able to be in that frame of mind to know, 'Hey, guess what guys – the game's on the line and the ball is right here.'"
*Coughlin singled out offensive lineman Jim Cordle for praise. Cordle, added to the active roster last week, was in uniform for the first time in his career and was pressed into double duty in the second half. When both guard Chris Snee and long snapper Zak DeOssie suffered concussions, Cordle had to replace both players.
"That is a young man that should be recognized," Coughlin said. "The reason that I say that is, a couple of years ago if you remember, when we went over to Pittsburgh, they lost their long snapper. The backup long snapper heaved one over the punter's head. We got a safety out of it. It provided great momentum for us. This kid comes in the game and really made a number of very good snaps, got involved in the coverage. Had to go in and play at the guard spot, at the center spot – did a nice job of coming into a game of that magnitude and maintaining his poise and so on and so forth. I'm glad you mentioned Jimmy Cordle. It would have been nice to be able to talk about him in a winning effort."
Cordle initially replaced Kevin Boothe – who played for David Baas – at center, then switched to guard.
"Boothe had been our center the whole day," Coughlin said. "They just flipped it and played, he (Cordle) is most comfortable (at guard). Boothe can play guard, tackle or center."
*Snee spent the night in the hospital.
"He was in here this morning and (the trainers) sent him home so he could rest," Coughlin said. "He did mention that he felt a little bit better, but he still wasn't feeling real good." Coughlin does not know exactly when Snee was injured.
Asked about DeOssie, Coughlin said, "Zak's the same way, sent home."
How about Tuck, who has missed three of the Giants' five games?
"He said he feels a little better today, but until he gets out there running around (his status is unchanged)," Coughlin said.