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Giants offense comes alive before Eli Manning's 3 INTs ruin day

Giants quarterback Eli Manning runs off the field

Giants quarterback Eli Manning runs off the field following a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. (Oct. 6, 2013) Credit: Mike Stobe

After wandering in the wilderness for four games, the Giants' wayward offense finally seemed to find its mojo Sunday with back-to-back touchdown drives for a two-point third-quarter lead over the Eagles.

"I thought that's when we got our swagger back,'' wide receiver Victor Cruz said, "and we got our momentum back and the crowd was into it.''

Even after the Eagles regained a one-point lead with a field goal, the Giants were moving again, reaching the Eagles' 49 early in the fourth quarter.

Then what has become the inevitable for the Giants' offense this season happened. Eli Manning threw two straight interceptions that led to two touchdown passes by backup quarterback Nick Foles in the Eagles' 36-21 victory.

"Offensively, we've just got to take care of the ball better,'' Cruz said. "It's as simple as that.''

The first of Manning's three fourth-quarter interceptions symbolized the way things have gone for the Giants this season. The pocket collapsed around the quarterback, who as he was going down launched a short pass intended for running back Brandon Jacobs that hit center Jim Cordle in the helmet. It bounced to linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who returned it 18 yards to the Giants' 25.

"Yeah, that one was tough,'' Cruz said. "We made two first downs and we were getting momentum. And then the unfortunate happened. But we still had a shot after that, and we didn't take advantage of it.''

Down only 29-21, Manning rolled right under pressure and flung an ill-advised pass toward Cruz that Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin reached first.

"I was open when he looked at me,'' Cruz said. "But he was getting dragged down on one side, so it came out a little fluttery. That gave the defender a chance to put a hand on it and make a play. I have to do a better job of trying to rip it out.''

Another four turnovers brought the Giants' total to 20 this season.

"You can't continue to fight out of those things because you're completely switching the momentum of the game,'' guard David Diehl said. "You can't do that. It's 22-21 and you're in the midst of the game and you have these turnovers and miscues. You can't do that.''

Is Manning taking too much on himself to make things work?

"You could say that,'' Diehl said. "When we keep him upright and he's comfortable and has his feet set, he's the best quarterback in the NFL. If you want to put anything, put it on us .''

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