Even someone as positive as Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has to be leery of the troublesome path his team is starting to take yet again.
Besides the fact that the Giants (6-4) have now fallen into a first-place tie with the resurgent Cowboys — though Dallas holds a tie-breaker — Coughlin must now start to field questions of yet another late-season collapse.
Last year, during their late-season swoon, the Giants didn’t have nearly the obstacles to overcome as this season’s stretch. Besides the loss to Philadelphia, the Giants now must face the Saints next Monday night and the defending champion Packers at home the following week.
Despite having a day to cool down, Coughlin and players alike stomped around the facilities, not only upset at who they lost to but how they lost.
“There’s a lot of things that rubbed me the wrong way, and I don’t like the way we responded to it,” said safety Antrel Rolle, admitting the Eagles pushed them around. “At the end of the day you play within the lines, play within the rules, but you don’t take [stuff] from nobody and [Sunday] night I think we took a little bit. … I don’t know how it’s going to change but in order for us to be where we want to go, things are definitely about to change.
“I don’t think we’re playing soft,” Rolle said. “Guys are flying around the ball and playing extremely hard. [But] I don’t think we’re playing to the standards we know we can play … and I know we didn’t play with that same intensity as when we went out there and played the Patriots.”
To a man, the Giants know they gave away a very winnable game against a wounded rival. But even knowing that, they all have said that game is already in the rearview mirror and they must turn their focus to the high-powered, first-place Saints.
Every setback has a silver lining, said linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka. That mindset is something Coughlin has instilled in his teams since coming aboard eight seasons ago.
“The only bright side that I can think of is that we still have a lot of games to play,” said Kiwanuka. “As long as we can come back strong with a better mindset and get ready to play tougher, then we can still control our destiny down the stretch. … But we can’t put too many quarters like that together and expect to be successful.”
Big Blue notes
» Brandon Jacobs hasn’t endeared himself with Giants fans for his play lately — and has outwardly said he doesn’t care — so he must figure why bother trying to ingratiate himself with his words? Following Sunday’s loss, in which the hulking running back hesitantly ran for only 21 yards on 12 carries, Jacobs was asked about the booing from the faithful. He retaliated with this gem: “That’s the best thing they do here is boo. I’m not worried about that. I’ve been here for years. That’s just what you got and you’ve got to deal with it.”
Jacobs also didn’t mince words talking about his own play or that of his teammates: “It was absolutely pathetic. It was the worst I have ever experienced in my seven years. We were top three in the league and now we are like 40th.”
» The 29 total rushing yards were the lowest since Nov. 20, 2006 at Jacksonville. The Giants’ offensive ineptness wasn’t relegated to the rushing game, however, as the offense generated season lows in total yards (278) and first downs (12).
» Some injury notes on Big Blue players who left the game black and blue: running back D.J. Ware (concussion); safety Derrick Martin (hamstring); cornerback Michael Coe (shoulder/IR); left tackle Will Beatty (back), who went to New York Monday for further tests on his back; and tight end Jake Ballard (elbow).
» Defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy, who was coming off a four-game suspension, will be activated to the 53-man roster. He’ll take the place of Coe, whose season will end with shoulder surgery.
» Coughlin said during his press conference that he’s not optimistic in having running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) play Monday night in New Orleans. Coughlin added that both Bradshaw and linebacker Michael Boley (hamstring) will test their injuries throughout the week
» Lost in the Eagles debacle is the fact Eli Manning is now second on the franchise’s touchdown pass list with 174. Phil Simms is tops with 199.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.