With the Giants making a strong case to miss the playoffs for the third consecutive season, coach Tom Coughlin is leaving no doubt who should be held accountable.
For the second time in less than a week, Coughlin said that he as the head coach is most responsible for the Giants' failure to put together consistent performances that result in victories.
"You can blame it all on me," he said Monday. "This is our team and I'm the head coach and I'm responsible for everything. That's where it starts. I'll continue to feel that way."
Speaking on an afternoon conference call with reporters, Coughlin said he spent the day in meetings with his players and he described them collectively as "emotionally drained" in the wake of their fourth-quarter meltdown Sunday in a 38-17 loss to the Seahawks in Seattle.
After entering the fourth quarter tied at 17 with the defending Super Bowl champions, the Giants suddenly became bystanders as the Seahawks scored 21 unanswered points.
Now the Giants, losers of four straight, are left wondering how their season went awry and whether there's time to correct it. It's becoming a familiar narrative at this time of year. They are 3-6 after nine games for the second straight season and haven't made the playoffs since 2011.
"It is tough. It is not as fun," Eli Manning said. "You work hard every week and you prepare and compete. You want to have something to show for it."
Coughlin agrees. Asked if this 3-6 record feels any different from last year's, he said: "There's progress that's been made. There are a lot of things you can point to that are good, but we are not finishing the job, and that dominates all of our thinking. We all know what this game is about. You've got to win."
And with each loss, the question as to whether the Giants will keep Coughlin as coach next year gains steam, especially among disgruntled fans on sports talk radio. Coughlin, for his part, says he's "disappointed" by the results.
"I expect more," he said, "and I continue to expect more."
Yet it's not happening.
On Sunday, the Giants allowed 350 rushing yards, their most in a game in nearly 36 years. Asked about the defensive game plan, Coughlin excused the coaching staff, saying, "I do think that they worked as hard as they possibly could."
The game plan wasn't the issue, the execution was -- especially in the fourth quarter. And for a coach who has made a career out of noting the tiniest of details, perhaps that's the most frustrating aspect of the Giants' downward spiral.
"That was always our mantra, and we always talked about winning the fourth quarter," Coughlin said. "We did not do that, we were not able to come away with a win, and we were very disappointed and frustrated by the way in which we finished the game and lost the game."
Notes & quotes: Coughlin said "we certainly do expect" that running back Rashad Jennings will play Sunday against the 49ers in what would be his first game since Oct. 5. Jennings, who rushed for 391 yards on 91 carries in his first five games, hasn't played since he sprained the MCL in his left knee against Atlanta. The Giants have averaged only 83 rushing yards per game in his absence. "I can't tell you 100 percent," Coughlin said, "but I think he will, and if he is ready, then obviously he will have a big share of the load."