September 16 seems like ancient history to Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks. In that Week 2 matchup against Tampa Bay, the quarterback threw for 510 yards while the wide receiver caught 199 of them. The offense was clicking, and Manning jumped out of the gates to be the first quarterback to 1,000 yards.
The past three weeks, however, have been a different story.
Including Sunday's loss to the Steelers, Manning has thrown four interceptions compared to just one touchdown in the past three contests. Over that stretch, Nicks' most productive game was five catches for 53 yards against Washington.
The pattern continued Sunday against the Steelers when Nicks managed one catch for 10 yards. Manning, meanwhile, passed for a season-low 125 yards.
"We just went out there and they did things a little better than us," Nicks said. "Offensively, we've just got to get it going again. Personally I feel we've been lacking a little bit on offense. So I think we need to pick it back up a little bit. As weeks go on, this next game and heading to that bye week, we've just got to pick it up offensively and I think we'll be fine."
Four straight wins were able to cover up any recent blemishes, but the Steelers' No. 1 passing defense exposed them on Sunday."
Defenses are just scheming on us," Nicks said. "They've got to breaking us down pretty well in the film room. So I feel like maybe they're just putting together a nice little scheme together for us, try to take certain people out of the game. It's been working the last couple games, but maybe we've just got to sit down and take a look at ourselves and see what we can do best."
Tight end Martellus Bennett also says it's time to go back to the drawing board. Starting the season with a touchdown in each of the first three games, Bennett caught three of Manning's 10 passes against the Steelers for 40 yards, including a 33-yarder for the Giants' longest play of the day.
"Just keep going to practice," Bennett said. "That's the only thing we can do – just keep practicing and guys get open. We just have to work on guys getting open. It's one of those things where I don't think it's as bad as it seems. We've got to make a couple more plays."