Another week, another opponent taking potshots, and the Giants shaking their heads at the disrespect and using it as motivation.
This time it was Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who pooh-poohed the game-deciding touchdown pass in the Giants' 27-23 win Sunday. Hall suggested that Eli Manning's 77-yard strike to Victor Cruz was more a function of the Redskins' failure than anything Manning might have done.
"He made the play to beat us, but I don't feel like he made that play," Hall told Redskins reporters Wednesday. "I feel we gave him that play. I could have thrown that ball and [Cruz] would have scored. It wasn't something where [Manning] was a rocket scientist and he figured something out. We just played that as bad as possible."
Manning had a zinger ready when asked about it at his locker. Told that Hall had suggested the Redskins had given him the play, Manning said, "I appreciate him giving it to me. I didn't think it took a rocket scientist to figure it out, either. You had a guy running open, and you hit him."
Cruz was a bit less forgiving. The third-year receiver, who got behind safety Madieu Williams and cornerback Josh Wilson before making the over-the-shoulder catch, took umbrage at Hall's remarks. Cruz said Hall's comments were "definitely a little disrespectful," and added, "I don't know why some people say the things that they say. I think it's just them feeling that type of way because they lost and the way they lost."
Defensive end Justin Tuck shot back at Hall in more colorful tones.
"DeAngelo is not that smart if they gave it to them," Tuck said. "I love how DeAngelo plays. He is an awesome player. But to give a person a game-winning touchdown . . . for all you guys out there listening, if you play us, if you feel like you want to give us something, I will take some sacks. I am sure Eli will take more 70-yard touchdown passes, Tom Coughlin will take a couple more wins to separate himself from [Bill] Parcells. There are all types of things."
Seems as if everyone wants to take shots at the Giants. Remember how 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh became incensed at a comment by offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride that defensive end Justin Smith gets away with holding that isn't penalized.
Harbaugh actually issued a press release because he thought Gilbride was trying to influence the officiating in a game the Giants would win, 26-3. And then there was Packers linebacker Clay Matthews telling Yahoo! Sports that last season's NFC Championship Game result was more a function of Green Bay losing than the Giants winning.
And now it's off to Dallas to face the Cowboys on Sunday. That would be the team owned by Jerry Jones, who during the summer invited fans to come to Cowboys Stadium to see his team "kick the Giants' [butts]."
No wonder the Giants are so good at playing the "no respect" card. They're getting plenty of practice at it.
But if you look at it another way, it's also a sign of grudging respect. After all, if you're not winning, the losers don't have the chance to complain as much.
"Guys take shots at us all the time," Cruz said. "San Fran took shots at us, so it is what it is. We just make plays to win the football game. Whatever they say after they take the loss, we have to go out there and run and catch the football and throw it.
"We're used to people doubting us and not picking us to win, that we've won off things like luck. We're comfortable playing with our backs to the wall and doing well. They've got to come up with something. Whenever they're talking about you, you've caught their attention."
Manning almost seems amused by it all.
"If that's the way they want to put it in their heads, then that's fine," he said. "If a team wants to give up some plays or they don't want to play well on a certain day, then it's our job to play better and make the plays and take advantage of that opportunity."
Next stop, Dallas, where more trash talk surely awaits. The Giants hope they'll deliver their preferred response: a win.