AP Sports Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ After delivering so many times with
late comebacks and big performances, Eli Manning and the New York
Giants couldn’t provide a happy ending for the storm-ravaged fans
who came to see them against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Manning not only came short and looked out of sorts in a 24-20
loss Sunday, his passing statistics were his worst in almost four
years. He finished 10 of 24 for 125 yards. The yardage total was
his lowest total since the final game of the 2008 season when he
had 119 yards playing just the first half against Minnesota in the
regular-season finale before a playoff game against Philadelphia.
There was plenty of blame to go around for the Giants (6-3)
after the Steelers (5-3) scored 14 points in the final 15 minutes
to snap New York’s four-game winning streak.
The offense was 2 of 10 on third down. Receivers seemingly ran
the wrong patterns. The running game generated 68 yards. And while
the defense kept Tom Coughlin’s team in the game for the first
three quarters, it never could slow down Issac Redman, who rushed
for a career-high 147 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown
on a 1-yard run with 4:02 to play.
“We had a lot riding on the game,” defensive captain Justin
Tuck said. “Everybody knows what has taken place this past week in
this area. A lot of us have been affected ourselves. We wanted to
come out and give this region a reason to put some smiles on
people’s faces. That’s frustrating in itself and knowing you had
the opportunity to beat a great football team at home, and let that
slip through your hands.
“We’ve been a team known for finishing and when we take the
lead into the fourth quarter and we don’t sustain that, that’s
frustrating,” Tuck added. “That’s not us. We have to look at this
thing tomorrow and come back next week and try to get to 7-3.”
The offense probably has more to correct than the defense. For
the second straight week, Manning and company just didn’t do much.
Linebacker Michael Boley provided one touchdown with a 70-yard
fumble return, and a Corey Webster interception set up Lawrence
Tynes’ second field goal.
The other 10 points came courtesy of two major pass interference
penalties against Keenan Lewis and a late hit by Steelers safety
Ryan Clark.
Manning had a chance to stage another fourth-quarter comeback
after Redman scored, but New York went three and out.
Manning missed Victor Cruz on a short pass on first down.
Overthrew Hakeem Nicks on a go-pattern on second down and was
sacked on third down.
“We’ve been pretty good in the fourth quarter coming back and
scoring points,” Manning said. “Tonight we were in a position to
take the lead and possibly win the game and we didn’t come
Despite leading a comeback against Dallas a week ago, Manning
has not played well in recent weeks. He denied being in a slump and
said having to leave his home and move into a hotel because of the
Superstorm Sandy didn’t take him out of his routine. He said he
hasn’t been as sharp as he has needed to be and this week it caught
up with the Giants.
“We’ve got to get him back on track,” Coughlin said. “He is
our guy and we have to get him back playing the way he was a couple
of weeks ago. And we have to do it in a hurry. It’s just not Eli
now. We’re struggling to get ourselves in position so it’s an
automatic for the quarterback.”
The Giants will face the Bengals in Cincinnati on Sunday before
getting a bye.
Coughlin refused to say specifically what was wrong with the
“So we’ve got to just get going. People have got to play the
way they are capable of playing,” Coughlin said. “Look at where
our big play production has been. Two weeks ago we were the number
one big play team in the league. I mean it doesn’t make any
Cruz, who led the Giants with five catches for 67 yards, refused
to say the offense was in a slump.
“Slump is kind of a strong word, I wouldn’t’ got slump,” Cruz
said. “We’re having a tough time now, everyone being on the same
page. It’s a little bit of a rough spot for us. We just have to
continue to stay positive and keep things moving forward.”
NOTES: Pittsburgh lost leading receiver Antonio Brown in the
first half with a left ankle sprain and kick returner Chris Rainey
in the third quarter with a rib injury. Rainey had 173 yards on
five runbacks … The Steelers held the ball for more than 35
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(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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