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Giants' defense getting buried by turnovers

Giants defensive end Justin Tuck (no. 91) looks

Giants defensive end Justin Tuck (no. 91) looks on from the bench during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles. (Oct. 6, 2013) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Name the NFL defense that could withstand 20 turnovers by its offense in five games and come up smelling like a rose. It doesn't exist, and the fact that the Giants' defense has given up the most points off turnovers in the league -- 62 -- is no accident because the Giants' total of 20 turnovers also leads the NFL.

Four more Giants turnovers Sunday at MetLife Stadium led to 17 Eagles points in a 36-21 loss. No doubt, it's difficult for the Giants' defense to look at the stats and see they're giving up 38.4 points per game, but they've been playing with their backs to the Giants' goal line all season.

"You can't have it, you can't have it," safety Antrel Rolle said. "Turnovers lose games. We all understand that. As a defense, when turnovers do happen, we have to do a better job of stopping them. I think we played pretty good ball today at times. But then, when opportunity presented itself, they came down with the plays, and we didn't come down with enough of them. So this is the outcome."

Rolle wasn't calling out the offense for its mistakes so much as he was citing football fundamentals. Lose the turnover battle, lose the game.

Defensive end Justin Tuck took the positive approach when asked about the pressure that 20 turnovers in five games has put on the Giants' defense.

"We have a rule on defense," Tuck said. "If you give us a yard, we should stand. Regardless of where we get the ball at or what happens to the offensive half, we still have to play better on defense."

In the end, the Giants gave up 439 yards and 28 first downs to the Eagles, so it's not as if they had a lid on Chip Kelly's offense. But they limited the Eagles to five field goals and a TD and trailed only 22-21 entering the fourth quarter.

"The crowd is electric there," Tuck said. "We have positive momentum. We have to figure out a way to finish that."

The Giants still trailed 22-21 when Eli Manning bounced a pass off the helmet of center Jim Cordle that turned into an Eagles interception, setting up a 25-yard touchdown pass from Nick Foles to Brent Celek on the next play.

"That's the nature of the game," Rolle said. "When it's called for defensively, we have to make a stop. There were guys in great position. We just didn't come down with the play [on Celek's TD]."

On the next series, Manning threw another interception that the Eagles converted into a 5-yard scoring pass from Foles to DeSean Jackson for a 36-21 cushion. Game over.

Asked if interceptions bouncing off helmets are typical of what has happened to the Giants, Tuck said: "I think you want me to say something negative about our offense. But that offense has gotten us out of jams that the defense put us in, and right now, it's time for the defense to get them out of a jam because they're not playing well right now and, obviously, we aren't, either."

New York Sports