Giants not ready to give up on season just yet

Eli Manning sacked
Eli Manning was sacked twice by veteran Jason Hatcher on Sunday.
Credit: Getty Images

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said he’s definitely not ready to write off the season just yet, despite Sunday’s last-second defeat by the Cowboys.

And he emphatically added his team better not be ready to count the days to the end of the season either.

“Obviously we’re all very disappointed, as we’re still feeling the remorse of lost opportunity that we let slip through our hands, but it’s not over until the [last] five games are over,” Coughlin said, adding that as badly as everyone feels, the Giants must bounce back quickly. “I told them you are what you are and you just have to deal with the reality. … We can only deal with now and going forward.”

The biggest peeve the coach had in losing to the Cowboys was how his usually composed team allowed emotions to play a big part in the defeat. The Giants incurred three 15-yard penalties that swung the pendulum for Dallas each time, particularly a personal foul by defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka which nullified a fumble recovery by the Giants.

Coughlin also had a problem with the amount of talking his veteran-laden team participated in leading up to the game, including Terrell Thomas guaranteeing a win and Jason Pierre-Paul promising “blood being spilled.”

“I’ll tell them that you’ve got to have poise and control your emotions. I’m very disappointed [because] we’re never a team to provide bulletin-board material,” said Coughlin, recalling an old phrase he spawned years ago. “Talk is cheap, play the game.”

Quarterback Eli Manning agreed everyone needs to be more accountable.

“I think our mindset is we’ve got to win five. We’ve got to win every one. That’s the only way that will possibly give us a chance — and even if we do that, nothing is guaranteed,” Manning said. “We don’t know if that’s going to be good enough, but that’s the only way. You have to come back to practice [Wednesday] ready to work, but the preparation will start [Tuesday in film study]. The only way to fix it is just get back to work and try to go get another win.”

Big Blue notes …

» Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher made quite an impression both on the field, with two sacks, and via his Instagram account when he posted a postgame picture of his face covered in fake blood, while still donning the Cowboys’ uni in the locker room. The dig was a shot at Pierre-Paul, as the veteran tackle got the last laugh on the rival Giants.

“I just finished eating a Giant. I’ll be full for about three days. I ain’t got to eat no more,” Hunter said afterwards. “We just got disrespected [by the Giants’ trash talk]. We didn’t talk all week. We let them do all the talking. And revenge is best served cold.”

» The defeat put the Giants at 1-3 in the division.

» The Cowboys beat the Giants twice this season by a combined eight points. It was their first sweep of the Giants since 2007.

» Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey kicked the game-winning 35-yard field goal as time expired. It was the first time the Giants lost a game when their opponent scored on the final play since Dec. 4, 2011, when Green Bay’s Mason Crosby kicked a 31-yard field goal as time expired. In Coughlin’s 10 years as the Giants’ head coach, they’ve lost two regular-season games and the 2006 NFC wild-card game to Philadelphia on last-play field goals.

» Wideout Hakeem Nicks (abdominal) missed a game for the first time this season. He’s yet to play a full 16-game season during his five-year tenure here.

» Wideout Victor Cruz’s fumble was returned for an early touchdown. It was a rare occurrence, as it was just the second of his career. His only previous fumble was on Oct. 9, 2011, in a home loss to the Seahawks.

» The Giants had a season-high of nine runs of at least 10 yards, as Big Blue ran for a season-high 202 yards and averaged 6.7 yards per carry. Andre Brown led the way with a career-high 127 yards and Brandon Jacobs added 75, including a 37-yard run, the longest by the Giants this season. It was the team’s highest rushing total since Oct. 7, 2012, when they ran for 243 yards in a victory over Cleveland. Brown’s afternoon bested his previous career high, which was set two weeks ago against the Raiders. That game was his 2013 debut after spending the first eight weeks on the designated-to-return injured reserve. Sunday’s effort was the third 100-yard game of Brown’s career, as he also ran for 113 yards at Carolina on Sept. 20, 2012. Brown’s 21 carries is the second-highest total of his career (30 carries against the Raiders). Jacobs’s total was his highest since he ran for 101 yards in a victory in Dallas on Dec. 11, 2011.

» Manning, while not spectacular in going 16-of-30 for 174 yards and two touchdowns, also didn’t throw an interception.

» Big Blue sacked Romo four times — led by Cullen Jenkins’s pair — and picked him off once. The four sacks tied their season high and was the third time in four games they had four sacks. Kiwanuka leads the team with four sacks. The multi-sack game was the fourth of Jenkins’ career and first since Sept. 18, 2011 against the Falcons, when he played for the Eagles.

» Safety Antrel Rolle tied his career high with his fifth interception of the season when he picked off Romo in the first quarter. The last time Rolle had as many picks was as a third-year pro with the Cardinals in 2007.

Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.


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