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Eli Manning, Mathias Kiwanuka: Giants must 'grow up' in a hurry

Giants quarterback Eli Manning walks off the field

Giants quarterback Eli Manning walks off the field after being defeated by the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Oct. 12, 2014. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Rich Schultz

Victor Cruz's season is over. The rest of the Giants now must turn their attention to making sure theirs isn't.

Given the buildup, the stakes, the execution, the result and the injury, it's hard to remember a more devastating game in recent Giants history than the 27-0 loss to the Eagles on Sunday night. But the Giants can't wallow in any of it, Tom Coughlin said Monday.

"There is no time for feeling sorry for ourselves or anything of that nature,'' he said as preparations begin for Sunday's visit to Dallas. "The idea is to rise up. We have been knocked down before. This hurts, there is no question about it. I am not trying to disguise that in any kind of way . . . We also have to realize we are moving forward.''

The implications of the next game have changed dramatically since Sunday morning. If the Giants had defeated the Eagles and the Seahawks had beaten the Cowboys, the Giants would have been playing Dallas for exclusive possession of first place in the NFC East. Instead, neither outcome helped the Giants, so they're again left playing for their season. In October. A loss would put them three games behind the Cowboys and 21/2 behind Philly, which has a bye.

Complicating matters is Dallas' status as the hottest team in the NFL. The Cowboys have won five straight, including the upset in Seattle.

"I would think that because of the significance of this Cowboy team and their win, our guys are going to have to get over this thing fast,'' Coughlin said.

Which is why two of the longest-tenured Giants spoke Monday about the team needing to "grow up.'' Both Eli Manning and Mathias Kiwanuka used that expression to describe what needs to happen as younger players fill in for veterans who have been lost to injury.

"This week we have to grow up and find out who is going to be playing the spots that Victor has played so well for us and keep growing,'' Manning said.

Added Kiwanuka: "This is something we are going to have to grow up from real quick and make sure we get the ship right. The story about the season has not been written yet, and I feel like as long as we come back out this week ready, prepared and enthusiastic about getting a win, then we will change that perception of us.''

The Giants clearly were shaken by having to watch Cruz howl in agony on the field in Philadelphia and later learning the severity of the injury, a torn patellar tendon that will require season-ending surgery.

They also lost cornerback Trumaine McBride. He needs surgery, too, although the Giants haven't determined if he will be placed on injured reserve.

Injuries also forced Chris Snee and David Wilson to retire. That's a lot of roster carnage and upheaval on the depth chart for a relatively young team to withstand. Kiwanuka, a nine-year veteran, said he understands younger players can be affected by such sights and news. He's gone on injured reserve and seen teammates carted off into football oblivion.

"Back in high school, I can remember being completely devastated when one of my teammates went down,'' Kiwanuka said. "As time goes on, just as in life, bad things happen. You are sad and down about it, but as a man, you still have a job to do.

"It's better to go out and fight and play harder in the spirit of that player that went down instead of hanging your head and taking a beating. I know when I went down, the only thing I wanted was those guys to fight just as hard as I had been.''

On Sunday, we'll see if there really is a difference between the Grownups and the 'Boys.


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