The Giants’ season isn’t finished, as they head into their bye week, but their postseason dreams will definitely be finished if they don’t find a way to finish ball games.
“Finish” was the key word used immediately after Sunday’s heartbreaking last-second loss to the unbeaten Patriots, and was bandied about during Monday’s media session.
But while both head coach Tom Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese admitted that they initially lamented the fact that the Giants (5-5) have lost four games when leading deep into the fourth quarter, they also tried to remain positive on what lies ahead.
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“Obviously we’re disappointed, we’re frustrated, and looking at the tape doesn’t help. All losses are bad. If you don’t win, don’t find a way to finish a game …. they’re all miserable,” said Coughlin, adding the bye week is a blessing. “The players have a much-needed rest coming. We do lead the division and when we come back, we have a divisional game [Washington]. Hopefully we’ll use this time to rest and reflect a little bit, regroup, and come back and finish strong -- get healthy as best as we can and come back and give it a hard shot for the final six games of the season.”
He also quickly noted that the “direct line [to the playoffs]” is winning the division, so with that goal still in sight, all is not lost.
“There’s still so much incentive here for our team that I can’t possibly imagine not grasping this opportunity and going with it,” Coughlin reasoned.
New York has been an “almost" teamin all but one of its losses, as four of its five defeats this season have been by a combined nine points. It’s enough to drive the team mad, but the coach insists there’s still a bright side to their current situation.
“I am still excited about this team,” he said. “We’ve played at a pretty high level for a few weeks now. The ability to play well against a high-powered opponent is inspirational. You just played the champs and played them ‘til the end.”
The end isn’t near, insists Reese, no matter what the rabid fan-base has proclaimed in the wake of the Patriots loss. The Giants still control their own fate – it’s just not been asmooth a ride. That’s been the way for Big Blue for the better part of Coughlin’s reign in New York, as even their two Super Bowl-winning seasons were full of strife and had a roller-coaster feel to them.
The man responsible for building this roster agreed with his coach that all isn’t lost, adding most every team not named the Patriots (9-0), Bengals (8-0), or Panthers (9-0), have endured seesaw campaigns.
“You can blame all of us if you want to, but again, we’re still in first place,” Reese said, noting nobody in the facilities have used any crutches to explain the incredible losses. “It’s not just us. Look around the league. Everyone’s feeling it. … But there are still six games to go and we’re going to try to win them all. I believe we’re battle-hardened.”
Big Blue notes:
-As expected, wideout Victor Cruz has his season shut down and will undergo season-ending surgery on his calf.
-Reese on Cruz’s plight and his future with the team: “Hindsight is 20-20. Obviously, had we had known ... I’m not going to think about that right now [Cruz’s contract situation]. That’ll take care of itself. When you’re gone for a couple of years, you just can’t jump right in and play. It’s a long road back.”
-Cornerback Prince Amukamara (pectoral) said he’s definitely returning to play after the bye, when the Giants face the Washington Redskins: “I’m 100 percent playing, and that’s according to me -- unless something not so smart happens.”