Giants head coach Tom Coughlin looks on during a game...

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin looks on during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Oct. 12, 2014 in Philadelphia. Credit: Getty Images / Evan Habeeb

While most observers pointed the finger at quarterback Eli Manning for his five interceptions in the Giants' loss to San Francisco last week, Giants coach Tom Coughlin looked at things a little differently.

The way Coughlin saw it, the offensive line, which lost right tackle Justin Pugh to a quadriceps injury in the second quarter of that game, shared the blame for many of Manning's errant throws, the coach said last week. Coughlin argued that because the line was ineffective, Manning was under pressure most of the game, and that had a negative effect on the quarterback's play

"There was pressure, sometimes to the point where [Manning] wasn't going to be able to function if he didn't release the ball when he did," Coughlin said.

With Pugh unable to play in Sunday night's 31-28 loss to the Cowboys, Coughlin made some changes.

"I wanted to try to create some spark and be able to run the ball a little bit," Coughlin said of the revamped O-line. "Last week's game, there wasn't any run. I wanted to be able to have some balance to our offense and if that's what it took, so be it."

To replace Pugh, Coughlin inserted Geoff Schwartz, who had been signed as a free agent in the offseason. A dislocated toe in the preseason landed Schwartz on injured reserve, where he stayed until being activated last week. Coughlin also chose to start veteran Adam Snyder at left guard, replacing Weston Richburg. It was a new look for a unit that had started the same five players for the first 10 games.

The rebuilt line looked good in the first half. On the Giants' first possession, the Giants marched down the field and scored the game's first touchdown on a 3-yard pass from Manning to Odell Beckham Jr. Manning had plenty of time to throw on the drive, and completed 6 of 7 passes for 66 yards. In the half, Manning was able to complete 14 of 16 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns (both to Beckham), though Dallas did get two sacks on the Giants' final two possessions. He was not sacked in the second half.

With the Giants trailing, 24-21 late in the fourth quarter, a knee injury to Snyder forced him out of the game (he was replaced by Richburg), and an eye injury to left tackle Will Beatty forced James Brewer to come in at left tackle for the rest of the series. Behind the reshuffled line, the Giants ended up scoring a go-ahead touchdown with 3:00 left on a pass from Manning to Adrien Robinson. It was fleeting. The Cowboys drove for the winning touchdown on the ensuing possession.

Of the line's performance, Coughlin said they were up and down, doing some good things, but allowing pressure on Manning at crucial times late in the first half and in the second.

Schwartz thought there was more good than bad.

"I mean, we scored 28 points, we probably could have had a lot more," he said. "We had some costly penalties and we came out the second half kind of slow, but I thought we protected Eli fairly well, and we ran the ball hard."

More Giants

ONE-DAY SALE26¢ for 5 6 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME