*The Giants' offense struggled in the team's Week 7 loss to Seattle: *
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants had a grand plan after earning their first victory of the season last week in Denver. They would defeat the Seattle Seahawks, get some injured players back after next week's bye, and continue their quest to turn around their season when they host the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 5.
But the strategy, and the season, absorbed a crushing blow Sunday, when the Giants struggled on offense the entire game and lost to the Seahawks, 24-7. They enter the bye with a 1-6 record, including 0-3 at home.
"We've got to keep grinding," quarterback Eli Manning said. "Obviously, we've had a tough start, lost some key players, but they're not going to make it easy for us, no team (will). So we've got to keep finding ways to get better. I think the game plan these last couple of weeks was, try to keep the game close, get into the fourth quarter, try to make a couple big plays. We just didn't quite hit those big plays, didn't convert on some third-and-manageables today. But, we've got to get better with the guys that we got, and find a way to execute."
The actually led at halftime, 7-3, despite playing their second game in a row without wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard, plus linebacker Jonathan Casillas, defensive end Olivier Vernon and center Weston Richburg. But they were outscored in the second half, 21-0, the first time they were shut out in the final two quarters since Dec. 5, 2015 against the Jets.
The Giants refuse to use the injuries as an excuse.
"We had 46 (players) today," coach Ben McAdoo said. "We weren't sharp on offense."
The Giants gained only 177 yards, their lowest total in more than four years. They ran for 46 yards, and averaged only 2.7 yards a carry. The Giants converted just two of 13 third down opportunities. They scored their lone points on a five-yard pass from Manning to rookie tight end Evan Engram – but they had to drive only 17 yards for the score, thanks to Landon Collins' fumble recovery and 32-yard return.
"They just played great defense," Engram said. "They disrupted the run. We had some big plays going and had one called back. The defense just played really well. We need to execute better."
"We needed to run the ball better," said McAdoo, whose team had totaled exactly 300 yards on the ground in the previous two games. "We needed to take it into the fourth quarter in a close game with a chance to wear them out physically, and the game got away from us in the fourth quarter."
The first 5:26 of the quarter were an unmitigated disaster for the Giants. They trailed entering the period, 10-7, on Blair Walsh's 39-yard field goal and the first of Russell Wilson's three touchdown passes, a 22-yarder to Doug Baldwin.
On the second play of the fourth, Aldrick Rosas had a chance to tie the score, but his 47-yard field goal attempt was wide right.
"I think I just missed it," Rosas said. "It was perfect from everybody." Asked if the game would have been different had he knotted the score at 10-10, Rosas said, "Absolutely. We had a little momentum going. The offense did great and to put us in the best position to continue on with the game and give us the best chance to win, and I got to go out and I got to make my field goals. I got to continue to make this team better and win games."
Although the Seahawks had good field position, the Giants forced them to punt. The Giants quickly picked up a first down on a 19-yard pass to Engram, but two plays later, Manning was sacked for a six-yard loss by Jarran Reed, who forced a fumble that was recovered at the Giants' 38 by Frank Clark.
On the very next snap, Wilson threw to the left side of the end zone for Paul Richardson. Both the receiver and Collins had their hands on the ball, but the officials said it was simultaneous possession, which by rule goes to the offense. Thus, it was a touchdown, a call upheld after review. The Giants, however, thought the officials erred twice in ruling it a Seattle score.
"I did not think he had possession of the ball before his foot hit the white (out of bounds)," McAdoo said. "We'll go take a look at the tape and see what we can see."
"I knew about it (the possession rule), but at the same time I came down with the ball on my chest," Collins said. "Once I rolled over, he was trying to fight back into possession for it. Once that happened he had no possession of the ball anymore. It's crazy.
Collins was confident the call would be reversed after review.
"It was an interception," he said. "Once you saw it, you could blatantly see it was on my chest. Once the referee could see it, it was like he has possession of the ball. I turned over and he was trying to fight into my arms to get it. That was my ball."
Not according to referee Tony Corrente.
"The receiver went into the air, had control of the ball, lost control, re-grasped the ball and at the same time he did, the defender grabbed the ball, also," Corrente told a pool reporter. "They went to the ground simultaneously with the football. Then they started a little wrestling match. It's over now. That catch is established because if the defender was to pull the ball out of his hands now, it's still a catch because the defender has a second action. So at that point when they were on the ground together, and they're tussling to begin with, the catch is over, that's the touchdown. Now, after that is when he rolled over and we don't have any clear view of, quote unquote, anything happening after that. So that's where it stands. … That's a touchdown."
Seattle added one more with 2:14 remaining, when tight end Jimmy Graham held off Eli Apple on a one-yard score. The Giant had one final possession in which they gained 49 yards, but lost the ball on downs.
The Giants will be off next week before turning to play nine more games in a season that has taken one wrong turn after another.
"We're all professionals," defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said. "It don't matter if we have a losing record or a winning record. You got to come out and do the same thing every week. This is why we're professional football players. So we're going to come back. Get this bye week and then come back and be ready to roll."
Somehow, they must find a way to reverse course and start rolling uphill.