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Giants' offense looks to get back on track after shutout loss

Giants quarterback Eli Manning, left, fumbles the ball

Giants quarterback Eli Manning, left, fumbles the ball as Titans outside linebacker Kamalei Correa applies pressure on Dec. 16, 2018. Credit: AP/Seth Wenig

The Giants have played 80 minutes and 38 seconds of football since they last scored a point. It’s obviously not a streak they would like to extend much further. Sunday’s game against the Colts gives them a chance not only to snap that timeframe of futility but prove that last week’s shutout loss to the Titans is not indicative of this team or this offensive unit.

“It’s definitely a big opportunity for us to turn the page and get back to what we know we’re capable of,” tight end Evan Engram said.

It’s not only outsiders who had doubts after the blanking at MetLife Stadium. A week after posting 40 points against the Redskins, the Giants failed to reach the end zone at all, something that hadn’t happened to them in 2018. They were a team that was flying high, scoring more points since Week 9 than any other team in the NFL except the Rams and Chiefs.

The shutout brought that altitude and confidence back down to the same place as their production: Zero.

Unless, of course, the Giants can play well against the Colts. Then the Titans game would become an anomaly, not an alarm siren.

“I think I speak for everybody offensively, we feel like the arrow’s pointing up,” offensive coordinator Mike Shula said of his group. “Last week we didn’t play well enough against a good football team, but we want to turn the page and go out there and compete. We have a chance to go win against a really good football team, one of the hottest teams in the league, and prove to ourselves that we are trending in the right direction and that last week wasn’t good enough but we can make up for that. We can recover from that and lay it on the line on Sunday.”

There were a number of reasons why a Giants offense that was motoring along at such a high velocity suddenly came off the tracks. The old issue of red zone inefficiency reared its head last week. The Giants had scored touchdowns on 13 of their 15 trips inside the 20 since the bye week. Against the Titans, they were 0-for-2.

“We couldn’t finish drives,” Engram said. “It’s something that we were trying to get away from. Something we dealt with in the past and did a good job of improving.”

The offensive line also seemed to take a step backward.

“I just kind of think it was more of a hiccup against a good football team,” Shula said. “And I wouldn’t just say the offensive line because there were really some times where there’s really good protection and some good things going on in the run game.”

Eli Manning turned the ball over twice, once near the Titans’ goal line and once near the Giants’.

“If we make a mistake — which, the perfect game is still out there — we just kind of want to limit those and just not make them glaring, whether or not it’s the offensive line or quarterback or whatever,” Shula said.

The last time the Giants scored was on an 11-yard pass from Manning to Russell Shepard in the third quarter against the Redskins to go ahead 40-0. Back then, everything seemed to be going the Giants’ way. They were even alive for a postseason berth.

Now? Sure, they’ve averaged 20 points per game over the last two, but that’s just toying with numbers. And that postseason chance has evaporated.

The only thing left, really, is to try to show which offense the Giants really are. The one that faced the Redskins or the one that faced the Titans.

“You look at the week before and how explosive we can be,” Engram said. “We definitely feel like we’re going in the right direction, and it’s important to us to keep going that way and finish strong.”

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