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Struggles on third down cost Giants


On football's money down, the Giants have gone broke.

A week after being shutout in Atlanta, the Giants converted just 2 of 10 third downs in the 33-14 loss to Baltimore.

The first didn't come until 4:31 to play in the third quarter when Eli Manning hit Martellus Bennett for a six-yard pass over the middle on third-and-3 from their own 33.

The Giants notched just 11 first downs overall – seven passing, three rushing, and one from penalty -- making their 52-point outburst against New Orleans in Week 14 a distant memory.

"The Atlanta game, there were chances," said Manning, whose offense was 4 of 10 on third downs and 0 for 3 on fourth downs against the Falcons. "At least offensively, we drove the ball. We got into scoring possibilities. We just didn't convert on some third and fourth downs that were keys plays in the game. Today, it was just hard to get anything going. They did a good job of getting pressure, showing some different looks, not giving us much room to get things rocking."

The problem, meanwhile, was as much about the Giants' defense as it was their offense, which never was able to find a rhythm.

Four of Baltimore's scoring drives included 10 or more plays as they ate up 39:21 off the clock. The Ravens' longest lasted 7:57 in the third quarter and encompassed 16 plays and 82 yards, resulting in Justin Tucker's second of four field goals to give them a 27-7 lead.

Baltimore converted 11 of 18 third downs after Atlanta was 9 of 13 prior against the Giants.

Osi Umenyiora, like the rest of the team, was speechless walking off the field at M&T Bank Stadium.

"Can't explain it, no explanation at all," he said. "We just got beat down, again. And I don't understand it."

But as a leader, he knows what the message will be to his teammates: "Keep fighting. We've got one more game. We'll keep our heads up. That's pretty much all I can say."


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