The Giants head into their bye week on a sour note, as they got thumped by the struggling Bengals, 31-13.
Big Blue appeared to be looking ahead to some bye-week rest and relaxation, as they allowed the Bengals to jump out to a quick, 14-0, lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Cincinnati (4-5) was outgained, 318-275, but still managed to do whatever they wanted against the beleaguered Giants (6-4), due to forcing three turnovers, including two peculiar interceptions by Eli Manning. It was the third straight game in which Manning didn’t throw a touchdown.
The Giants can now use this upcoming week of rest to figure out what has gone wrong.
What went wrong ...
1. Something about Eli
Manning’s velocity hasn’t looked right in over a month, and while he won’t admit anything is wrong, something obviously is, because there is no other way to explain his recent five-game slide in efficiency. Manning (29-of-46 for 215 yards and two interceptions) hasn’t thrown a touchdown in three straight games and threw two inexplicable interceptions where he was picked off by defensive tackle Pat Sims on one possession and then by cornerback Nate Clements on the next possession. Both interceptions came when Manning was trying to make a play with Bengal defenders draped on his shoulders. The ill-advised passes led to two Bengals’ touchdowns that salted away the game.
2. Rushing attack non-existent … again
Not since the Giants’ 200-yard rushing performance against the Browns over a month ago has the running game truly clicked. Sunday wasn’t any different, as they totaled only 17 attempts for 129 yards. Starter Ahmad Bradshaw (57 yards) and backup Andre Brown (65 yards) barely had any running lanes to help ease the pressure on Manning. Bradshaw also had a momentum-changing fumble at the Bengals’ 15-yard line, as the Giants were trying to get back in the game.
3. A.J. Green proved prophetic
The second-year wideout sad prior to the game that the Giant’s secondary had “holes” in it and were capable of allowing big plays. The Pro-Bowl receiver backed up his words with a seven-reception, 85-yard performance that also included a touchdown. Green wasn’t alone in feasting on an outmanned Giants’ secondary, as rookie wideout Mohamed Sanu added four receptions for 47 yards. The former Rutgers star also added a touchdown. Bengals’ second-year quarterback Andy Dalton (21-of-30 for 199 yards) was the main benefactor as he threw four touchdowns, and clearly looked like the more polished passer. Dalton wasn’t sacked by the Giants’ vaunted pass rush, and was barely even knocked down in the game.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.