After Sunday's game - heck, even during Sunday's game - the Giants didn't seem all that worried. Why should they be? There were plenty of football breakdowns. But emotional breakdowns? Over one bad game? Leave that to the fans.
Or the Jets.
"You can learn a lot from one game, but you can't freak out," calm and confident Eli Manning said on Monday. "You can't start getting nervous and having doubts. That's football."
Not a bad philosophy, and one that works. Trouble is, it only works once. For the Giants to truly shrug off this Superdumb performance they have to bounce back and beat the Cardinals this weekend. They have to correct all of those little mistakes they talked about in the secondary, close the gap on those passes they said were missing by inches, and prove the game against the Saints was an aberration.
Lose to the Cardinals - even in a hard-fought, down-to-the-wire game - and all of a sudden a trend develops. Confidence, even on a subconscious level, begins to dip. Questions start being asked, and not just by reporters but players in the locker room as they look around for answers.
The Saints game was huge because it was a contest between two undefeated teams. It was a natural way to compare two of the top teams in the NFL. But this Cardinals game is even bigger because it's about not letting that blemish on the loss column get any bigger than it already is.
There's plenty of reason to think the Giants will be able to return to form on Sunday. They do it rather routinely. In 2007 they were beat up by the Vikings, 41-17, at home. Two-and-a-half months later they were Super Bowl champions. And last year they fell flat against the Browns. After that they won seven straight games and established themselves as the premier team in the NFL (even if it was a bit premature for their liking).
It's not about losing, it's about handling the loss. Linebacker Danny Clark compared it to hitting the refresh button on an Internet browser each week.
"It's definitely a shot to the chin," he said. But he also said he liked what he saw on Monday - probably a lot more than on Sunday. There was defiance and not devastation. "You're never supposed to be excited about losing," he said. "We despise it."
Even Tom Coughlin seemed pleased with the way the Giants took the first defeat of the season. He described Monday as a "solemn day" noting that "everyone was quite down." He said there was "remorse for opportunity lost" but that he fully expects the Giants to regroup.
"And a little bit of humility is not a bad thing," he added.
This isn't like those other bounce-backs. The difference here is that the Saints are also in the conversation with the Giants and a few others for best team in the league; the Vikings of '07 and Browns of '08 were not. This game might have decided where a possible rematch will take place in January. And maybe it even proved that the Saints are better than the Giants.
But even as he was still coming to grips with the lopsided loss last weekend, Osi Umenyiora stopped in the locker room to note: "They're not that good."
And the Giants aren't that bad, either.
At least not until they lose again. And then, Eli, sorry to tell you this, but there will be some major freaking out.