Dan Graziano | ESPN.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — As the New York Giants‘ season continues to spiral down the drain and the team finds new ways to lose, the latest loss falls on the shoulders of two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback Eli Manning.
At least that’s the way coach Tom Coughlin made it sound in the wake of Sunday’s 36-21 loss to the Eagles — one that saw Manning throw three interceptions — that dropped the Giants to 0-5.
“Twenty-two to 21, and it’s a good football game,” Coughlin said. “We just started the fourth quarter and there’s no reason to believe that we can’t continue that kind of play. Then the turnovers started to come. That gave them the short field and the easy scores. It was very demoralizing for the sideline.”
The Giants trailed just 22-21 with 10:49 left in the game when Manning threw his first interception. Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks returned it to the Giants 25, and Nick Foles threw a touchdown pass to Brent Celek on the next play to give Philadelphia a 29-21 lead.
Three plays later, another Manning pass was intercepted, this time on an incredibly acrobatic play by Brandon Boykin at the Giants 38. The Eagles scored another touchdown four plays later. Then, on the next possession, Manning threw his third interception of the game and his league-leading 12th of the season — which gave him three interceptions in a span of nine throws, to go with three intentional grounding penalties for the game.
“I honestly believe that he’s trying so hard to get us a win, he’s almost put too much on himself,” Coughlin said. “And I’m not making excuses. There were a couple of those plays that were terrible. The intentional grounding penalties hurt so badly, because not only distance but to lose the down. I think we can make some progress with regard to preventing that. I think we do have to sometimes just cover the ball and go down.”
Not the kind of thing you think you’d have to explain to a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback in his 10th NFL season. But times are tough for Coughlin, Manning and the Giants; everything seems to be going wrong.
“I just grabbed him a moment in the locker room,” Coughlin said. “He’s way, way too good a player to have these kinds of things happen.”
Manning obviously isn’t in danger of losing his job to backup Curtis Painter, but Coughlin’s message to the QB is to stop doing things that make it tougher to win games. Manning says he’s aware.
“I know I can play better,” Manning said. “Sometimes in a game, things are going to go wrong and you have to make the best decision — whatever that is, throw it away, take a sack. But I know I can’t keep turning the ball over.”
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