The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener.
And drop was the operative word of the day, as wideout Victor Cruz and crew had five of them — many at crucial moments.
Cruz owned up to his three, as he lamented lost opportunities to extend drives. He had a particularly costly drop on what would’ve been a first down one play before Ted Ginn returned a punt 71 yards for a touchdown.
“It was just concentration, myself included. I own up to all my mistakes and all the things that I’ve done wrong,” said Cruz. “We’ve got to focus in on the football. … A lot of [drops], or a majority of them, were on third down, so that’s something that we have to keep our concentration on in order to move the chains and convert.”
Big Blue opened the season with a clunker in Detroit, but looked to have bounced back on Sunday against a Cardinals squad that didn’t have starting quarterback Carson Palmer, who was deactivated with a bum shoulder. Drew Stanton got his fifth career start and was rather efficient in leading four scoring drives for a Cardinals (2-0) squad that didn’t have a breakout performer, but played a sound, tactical game.
The Giants (0-2), however, failed to execute the simplest things, with the wideouts’ drops the bane of their existence today.
Head coach Tom Coughlin bemoaned as much afterward, saying the little things is what cost his team.
“You can’t have those things. You talk about winning the turnover battle. … It’s always disappointing to lose that way. Dropped balls, punt return [touchdowns], kickoff return fumbled and fumbling the ball without anybody hitting you,” Coughlin said, adding the offense also had its troubles. “Wasted opportunities. Points, points, the game is about points.”
Patrick Peterson, who is considered one of the best cornerbacks in the league, didn’t have a stellar day covering Cruz, as the wideout turned him around on numerous occasions. But even he noted Cruz didn’t seem like himself when it mattered most.
“He’s normally sure-handed, but at the end of the day fatigue plays a big part of that,” Peterson said. “He dropped the ball a few times and obviously I’m happy he did.”
Manning countered by noting it was a team loss. But deep down even he had to admit his receivers let down the team for the second week in a row.
“We made too many mistakes and had too many lost opportunities,” said Manning. “We had a couple of drops and misthrows, especially on third-down plays. We have to find a way to make those plays and find a way to get it done in the clutch.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.