Giants disappointed, surprised by outcome
BALTIMORE -- Late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 33-14 loss to the Ravens, the Giants reached into their silver-linings playbook. When Eli Manning connected with Domenik Hixon in the corner of the end zone, at least it meant Manning wouldn't go a second straight week without a passing touchdown.
But the late 13-yard score couldn't mask Manning's disappointing stat line: 14-for-28 for 150 yards and a touchdown. It was the fourth time in the past eight games that Manning failed to eclipse 200 yards and his second-lowest total this season.
"It was really disappointing," Manning said. "We know we have to play our best football at the end of the season to get into the playoffs. We haven't done that. These last few weeks, we haven't played the style of football we need."
On Sunday, Cruz was held to three catches and 21 yards. Hakeem Nicks failed to record a catch for the first time in his career. The Giants' longest play came late in the first quarter on a 43-yard pass to Rueben Randle. Hixon's touchdown was the second-longest pass play.
"It's a little surprising," Cruz said. "We want to be able to get ourselves open and get the big play, get the big ball, get the ball rolling and give our team a spark. It just hasn't been there for us a lot of times this year. I don't know [why that is]."
The Ravens sacked Manning three times and were credited with nine quarterback hits. Manning, who said he felt fine physically, played behind a battered offensive line. David Baas and Chris Snee each missed practice during the week. Compounding matters, the running backs struggled in pass protection.
"We just didn't come to play today," running back Ahmad Bradshaw said. "We know the type of guys we have. We know what we're capable of. We're not satisfied with what happened today."
The Giants can look to the Ravens, who entered with a three-game losing streak, as a model for how to bounce back. Baltimore cornerback Cary Williams said the Ravens' secondary turned things around by not feeling sorry for themselves.
"It's just guys believing in our system and understanding what's expected of them," Williams said. "Sometimes you have good games, sometimes you have bad games. Sometimes you have two bad weeks. Sometimes you have three bad weeks, like us."
The Giants' offense will try to avoid a third bad week. But they already seemed to understand Williams' advice about understanding expectations. Several Giants said that although coach Tom Coughlin took the blame for the loss, the true fault lay in their execution.
"There was nothing for [Coughlin] to say," tight end Martellus Bennett said. "We let him down. It really just comes to guys looking in the mirror and doing a self-evaluation."