Eli Manning and Giants offense have gone cold during team's hot streak
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The Giants are rolling right along, the hottest team in the NFC East with a three-game winning streak and the possibility of pulling even at the top of the division standings by the end of the month. But something seems to be missing. Something that has always been a part of these types of successful runs.
Where is the offense?
Where is Eli Manning?
The Giants have scored just 62 points during their rebirth, which is about 2.4 points per game more than when they were 0-6. Consider that seven of those 62 points came on a blocked punt Sunday and another 14 came from turnovers that were forced by the defense and special teams that gave the Giants the ball at the 3 and the 5 against the Vikings and Raiders, respectively, and the offense is actually performing worse than it was when the team was winless.
The running game has steadily improved, but the passing game -- particularly the big-play passing game -- has all but disappeared. The Giants had eight passing plays of 30 or more yards in the first six games, none in the last three.
"I'm worried about getting wins," Manning said after Sunday's game in which he threw for 140 yards, the fourth-lowest total in a win in his career. "We just have to figure out how to execute a little bit better, especially in the passing game."
This is the 28th three-game regular-season winning streak of Manning's career. He's thrown only two touchdown passes during such streaks three times: In December 2005, last October, and this one.
No one on the defense is pointing fingers, but the unit that has been carrying the Giants back into contention would certainly like a little help.
"That's something I think we all look forward to in this locker room," Antrel Rolle said on Monday of the Giants playing a complete game in all three phases.
"I think we're capable of playing better, no question," Tom Coughlin said. "Our defense has been playing solid, the other two areas have been a little bit up and down, and we need to be a little more consistent that way."
Especially now that the appetizers have been devoured and the main course of the comeback is being served. After beating the Vikings, Eagles and Raiders, who all had health issues at quarterback, the Giants now play seven teams with legitimate playoff aspirations. Some of them are banged up -- the Packers without Aaron Rodgers and the Cowboys without some key defensive players such as Sean Lee. But if the Giants are going to win a good number of these crucial seven games, they're going to need the offense to start clicking and scoring.
Rolle and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said on Monday that the defense has gotten to the point where it is thinking about goose eggs. "Our mind-set going into games is trying to shut teams out, not letting them score, period," Jenkins said.
That may not be too far away from what has to occur for the Giants to be successful.
"We can't really worry about what the offense does or what special teams does," Rolle said. "We can only control what we do on defense and we try to go out there and shut teams out each and every week. That's our mentality and that's what we're sticking with."