While it's never fun to get blanked, to look up at the scoreboard at the end of a game and see you've scored zero points, Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said he didn't focus on the big picture of last week's 34-0 shutout by the Falcons. It was, instead, the smaller, individual failures.
"You're not thinking about it," Gilbride said. "All you're thinking about is what you've got to do to counteract it."
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It was the fifth shutout for Gilbride in 16 years as an NFL offensive coordinator. His most recent blanking was a 31-0 loss to the Patriots on Dec. 27, 2003, when he was calling plays for the Bills. The next time he was on a sideline after that it was with the Giants as Tom Coughlin's quarterbacks coach in 2004.
"You come down and we throw the pick to start the game and then we march right down and we're third-and-three and we come up short and we miss a field goal," Gilbride said, reliving the drives that were as fruitless as the Dust Bowl.
"Next time we drive right down and we're second-and-one, third-and-one, fourth-and-one and we don't get it. Next time we come down, we're third-and-two, fourth-and-two and we don't get it. That's what you're thinking about: 'Hey, what do I have to do to change that up?' You're not thinking, 'Oh, it's a shutout here, I'm going to . . . ' or 'We could've spoiled the shutout by kicking field goals.' "
That the shutout came a week after the Giants scored 52 points against the Saints speaks to their inconsistency. It also makes it more perplexing.
What it hasn't done is diminish their confidence.
"Whether you've played your best game or your worst game," Eli Manning said, "each week you go in confident. You know you have the ability and you know you can make plays.
"Even from last week, you can draw from the good plays, you can draw on the good drives that you had. We didn't make the big plays in the game. This week, hopefully it's different. Hopefully, we'll be ready and go out there to make those plays."