Manning's Struggles Continue

JACKSONVILLE – Give the Giants' players credit – no one is pointing the finger at struggling QB Eli Manning. But they have every right to.

Of course, it's more than one player when things go well and the same when things go sour. But Manning looks nothing like the solid QB we saw during the first quarter of the season.

Believe it or not his final numbers don't even do justice to how poorly he played in Jacksonville. He completed 19-of-41 passes for 230 yards, a TD and two INTs. But his decision-making was poor to say the least.

"I didn't play well," Manning said. "There's a number of things, but mainly I've got to play better football."

Manning was asked if he still felt support from his mates.

"I don't know if they're getting frustrated with my performance or not," he answered.

However, the Giants players and coaches were all very supportive.

"I'm not worried," Plaxico Burress said. "I think he knows what he has to do. He's going to hold himself accountable. We have to help him out. It's not all him. We all have to continue to support him."

"We have to make his job easier," Tiki Barber added. "We all have to play better."

Barber said the Giants needed to do a better job of getting the ball into the hands of their playmakers. That, of course, starts with the QB.

"I'm concerned with how we played today," he said. "That was unacceptable. It was very anti-Giants football."

Tom Coughlin also stopped short of pointing the finger at number 10.

"I don't think we do a lot to help him get started," he said. "He is frustrated too. He's trying to make something happen. He's looking for somebody to help make something happen."

With New York's once-solid playoff prospects hanging by a thread and the fans growing more and more impatient, it's high time for Manning to make something happen.

Despite the recent horrific play, Manning said he hasn't lost faith in his ability.

"I'm not going to lose confidence in myself," he said.

Running to stand still

In their 12 years of existence never before had the Jaguars so throttled an opposing running game. With only 25 rushing yards, the Giants are now the answer to a Jacksonville trivia question. New York averaged only 1.8 yards per carry and appeared to get away from the run way too soon.

"We couldn't run the ball," said RB Tiki Barber, who added that his injured thumb was a non-factor. "We didn't attempt to run the ball. We got away from our gameplan and we paid for it.

"I'm shocked that our running game could be this unproductive."

"We did not rush the ball," Coughlin stated. "We had again no rhythm at all in the first half."

And the workhorse Barber was limited to only 27 yards on just 10 carries.

"I felt like a non-factor today," Barber said. "That's not what my job is."

So close…

With only 27 rushing yards, Tiki Barber is still two yards shy of recording his fifth 1,000-yard season and sixth in the last seven years. Barber, who has 998 yards this season, dropped to fourth in the league in rushing. Larry Johnson of the Chiefs leads the league with 1,045 yards, San Fran's Frank Gore is second (1,043) and San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson is third with 1,037.

Four on the floor

For the Giants they got one defensive starter back but lost another from last week's starting lineup. While Carlos Emmons returned to the starting unit at WLB, RCB Sam Madison, who re-aggravated his hamstring against the Bears, was inactive. R.W. McQuarters started in his place. Emmons (six tackles) and McQuarters (five) were two of very few defenders that actually played pretty well against the Jaguars. New York recorded no sacks, only three hits on Jags QB David Garrard and forced only one turnover.

Antonio Pierce, never one to make excuses, was adamant that New York couldn't be properly judged without so many of its key players.

"We just need to get guys healthy," he said. "We just need our guys back."

The Sinorice Moss watch continues at least one more week. Despite Moss finally returning to practice last week, he was unable to suit up in Jacksonville. TGI's best guess is that Moss finally returns this week in Tennessee. New York's other inactives were LB Tyson Smith, LB Brandon Short, DE Osi Umenyiora, LT Luke Petitgout and DE Michael Strahan. Tim Hasselbeck was New York's third QB.

All-time series

The Jaguars tied the all-time series, 2-2. Both of New York's victories came in Giants Stadium in 2000 and 2002. The Giants also lost their other game in Jacksonville, 40-13, on Sept. 7, 1997.

NFC East

New York dropped to 6-4 and into a tie for first place with Dallas. The Cowboys improved to 6-4 after handing Peyton Manning and the Colts their first loss of the season. The Eagles, who are basically cooked after losing QB Donovan McNabb for the season, check in at 5-5 while the woeful Redskins are 3-7.

New York returns to action this Sunday in Tennessee, when they face off with the Titans at 4:15 p.m.

"We need to go back to work," Coughlin said.

All business

It was no surprise that Coughlin afterward didn't admit any extra emotions due to his return to Jacksonville.

"My emotions were all geared toward playing well and winning," he said.

Time change

New York's game vs. Dallas on Dec. 3 has been moved back from 1 to 4:15 p.m. The Week 13 contest will be the Giants' third game switched as part of the NFL's new flexible scheduling. There are already strong rumors that a fourth – Big Blue's Dec. 10 contest in Carolina – will be switched to an 8:15 p.m. kickoff.

The other Week 13 games that were moved are Seattle/Denver, which will be played at 8:15 on NBC, Tampa Bay/Pittsburgh (4:15 p.m. on FOX) and Jacksonville/Miami (4:15 p.m. on CBS).

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