The only thing worse than giving up 52 points and 608 yards to the Saints on Sunday?

Reliving it on Monday.

That's what the Giants had to do as they broke down their breakdowns and rehashed their horrors during the traditional day-after video session.

ColumnRock: Who is Giants' vocal leader on defense?StoryGiants lose after Eli, Brees combine for 13 TD passes

"It hurts," safety Brandon Meriweather said Monday after enduring that experience. "If you ask anyone and they tell you it didn't, their heart is not into it."

Just how bad was the defensive performance?

New Orleans' 608 yards was the second-highest total ever by a Giants opponent and the most since 1943, when Sid Luckman threw seven TD passes against them and Chicago gained 682 yards. The Bears threw for 488 yards in that game, which was the previous record for most team passing yardage against a Giants team until Drew Brees obliterated it with 505.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

The previous record of 444 passing yards by a single quarterback against the Giants was set by Dan Fouts in 1980. The Saints' total of 36 first downs was the second-highest ever for a Giants opponent, two shy of the 38 the Los Angeles Rams had in 1966.

According to Pro Football Focus, Brees had a perfect passer rating when corners Jayron Hosley and Trevin Wade were in coverage. They were targeted 11 times, allowing 11 receptions for 216 yards and four touchdowns.

When asked how a defense can rebound from such a pitiful performance with half a season remaining, Meriweather said it's simple. "You go back to the drawing board," he said. "You have to go back to the basics."

Giants videos

Eli Manning saw one of the best games of his career go to waste and became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw six touchdown passes without an interception and lose the game. But he said he's not going to cross the aisle and say anything to the defense about its performance, other than general pick-me-up encouragement.

"You can always lift up your teammates," he said. "It's just football. Some days the offense, everything is clicking. Some days the defense, everything is clicking . . . It's a team."

A team that became only the second in NFL history to score 49 points and lose (the 1963 Oilers were the other). Even so, Tom Coughlin refused to cast the game as the offensive yin pulling against the defensive yang.

"We win as a team and we lose as a team," he said. "There's none of this pointing fingers. None of that."

Still, Coughlin acknowledged that the Giants had "some difficulty on the defensive side of the ball" and added that after scoring 21 fourth-quarter points and losing, there were "a lot of reasons to shake your head."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

The Giants might have some reinforcements on the horizon. Prince Amukamara could return to the secondary this week. Jon Beason should be ready after missing a game with an ankle injury. And of course, Jason Pierre-Paul looms over the entire situation, as he has the whole season.

"A person like that takes the game up for everyone on the defense," Meriweather said. "I'm excited. I can't wait to see him play."

The Giants are 4-4, their best record at the halfway point since 2012. They also are in first place in the division. But a performance like Sunday's runs all of those positives through a distorted prism of defensive deficiency.

Meriweather believes they will regroup and be fine.

"I think we have a lot of veteran players who understand football," he said. "At the end of the day, we're going to pull it together."