Uh oh, here comes the New York Giants second half swoon right on schedule. The tell-tale signs have been there for weeks but, come Game 9 every season, it becomes official.
On Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Giants hoped to create a three hour diversion to Hurricane Sandy for Giants fans dealing with the aftermath of the storm. Looking back, Big Blue's fans mostly diverted their eyes from the poor play on the MetLife Stadium field. The only heroes on yesterday's turf came in the pre-game ceremony honoring the storm's first responders.
The Giants — somehow — actually led 20-10 going into the fourth quarter despite another middling game from Eli Manning. The Giants, who have become accustomed to Manning's heroics, got none, and blew the lead before losing, 24-20.
Up front and most prominent has been Manning's slump over the past four games. He was 10-for-24 for only 125 yards Sunday and looked more flustered than usual.
"We've got to get him back on track," said Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. "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."
Coughlin, already emotional that the team had let down all of the fans in the tri-state area picking up from the storm, hoped the Giants could be an inspiration.
He said the Giants "wanted emotionally so badly to win the game for all of our neighbors who are struggling and who need some type of inspiration. Of course, we didn't provide it for them."
Manning, himself, was one of those people affected by the storm after his Hoboken, N.J. condo was flooded. He didn't use his personal difficulties as an excuse for his poor play yesterday.
Over the past three weeks, Manning has been a shell of his former self. He thrown for a grand total of 510 yards but doesn't think he's doing anything differently from early in the season.
"I don't feel off rhythm," said the quarterback. "I don't feel like I'm throwing the ball inaccurately, I don't feel like I'm missing guys, so I think it's just a matter of just getting back offensively to where we're playing fast, making good decisions, guys are winning and we'll hit them."
Halloween over, clocks set back and a chill in the air. Yup, it's time to sit back and see which second half Giants team will show up.