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SportsColumnistsBob Glauber

Antrel Rolle can't figure Giants out

New York Giants strong safety Antrel Rolle (26)

New York Giants strong safety Antrel Rolle (26) greets fans before an NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts Monday, Nov. 3, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: AP / Kathy Willens

Three straight losses, and Antrel Rolle is beside himself trying to figure out what's wrong with the Giants. Which is precisely the problem with this year's team, according to the veteran safety and longtime leader: He never knows which team is going to show up in any given week.

Even more troubling is that he's not sure there is a belief in the locker room that the team can find a way out of this.

A few minutes after the Giants' latest debacle -- a 40-24 loss to the Colts on Monday night at MetLife Stadium that dropped them to 3-5 -- Rolle lamented their maddening inconsistency.

"We're so up and down," Rolle said. "We're so inconsistent. You don't know what you're going to get. You don't know if we're going to get the good Giants, the bad Giants, the flat Giants, the Giants that play with energy. You never know what you're going to get."

This clearly was a case of the "bad Giants" and the "flat Giants" showing up in a game that had plenty of significance.

The Giants were coming off a bye week feeling refreshed and reinvigorated, knowing that the Cowboys and Eagles were struggling with quarterback injury issues that appeared to open the door a crack at the top of the division. But only if they took care of their own business could the Giants take advantage of that.

But they failed. Spectacularly.

The defense surrendered 443 total yards and allowed Andrew Luck to pick them apart all night. Luck wound up throwing for 354 yards and four touchdowns.

The Giants' offense, meanwhile, sputtered. Eli Manning wound up with 359 yards and two TD passes, but much of that yardage and scoring came with the game out of reach.

Rolle is exasperated by the turn of events in which the Giants have gone from a three-game winning streak to their current three-game losing streak. And with games upcoming against the Seahawks in Seattle on Sunday and then the 49ers and Cowboys at home, no amount of potential good fortune from other teams' developments will help the Giants if they don't help themselves.

"There's times where I feel like we can play as good as any team in this league," Rolle said. "But there are times when we go out there and play as bad as any team in this league."

Halfway through the season, time is beginning to run out. The Giants need to find some answers quickly. Said Rolle, "I think it's something where we have to come together as a team -- coaches and players, everyone included -- and figure out who we are as a team.''

Can they do it? Rolle, who always has implored his team to find a way out of trouble in the past, isn't so sure. "We have to believe in ourselves," he said. "We have to believe in ourselves as an entire unit and quite honestly, I don't know if that's happening right now."

Rolle can't do everything by himself, but he knows he can try to set a good example for those around him. It's not an easy challenge, especially after yet another key injury: Prince Amukamara's season-ending biceps tear.

"I always hope for the best for this team," Rolle said. "I have a lot of confidence for what we have. But you can keep saying something as much as you want. At the end of the day, what are the results? The results are not good. I'm always going to believe. If we go 0-16, I'm going to believe until the day I quit playing this game. That's the kind of player I am."

Manning is optimistic about what lies ahead, but he too has concerns. "We got to keep fighting," he said. "I got to play better. I got to hit my targets and have a great control of the offense on protections and getting into better plays and doing some things. It's all around. We've got some moving parts and some different guys playing. It's my job to do a better job and raise my level of play and raise their level of play."

He admits to being concerned that what the team does in practice doesn't always carry over to the games. "We prepare well and we practice well," he said. "We just don't perform well on game day as well as we can."

Rolle said it's a matter of digging deep. "We have to find a way to understand that this is the NFL. This is the league. This is where we've always wanted to be," he said. "You have to be passionate about this team. If you lose, you literally lose with a fight. You fight, you scratch, you claw. You try to do whatever you can to try to get a win. Right now, it's just not happening."

New York Sports