After Sunday's 24-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said his team was "mushed" around by the Steelers offensive line after third-string running back Isaac Redman plowed through Big Blue's defense for a career- high 147 yards.
Head coach Tom Coughlin was more straightforward in his assessment of the team and used the "S" word to describe the Giants defense.
"It was soft, no question," Coughlin told the Star-Ledger on Monday.
"It was soft early," he said. "We came back and played a little bit better and they had their breakout there at the end of the game."
Tuck didn't disagree with his coach that the defense was more pliable than a roll of Charmin.
"Not to the point where they were more physical than us," said Tuck. "But to the point where you got a guy in the gap and Redman was just behind his guard, behind his guard, and a guy jumps out of his gap trying to get around to get Redman and he kind of like filters forward for three more, four more yards, and that's just us got to do a better job of escaping blocks and getting to the ball carrier."
Granted, the Giants were without three linebackers including Chase Blackburn — who spearheads the defense.
"We had some poor tackling, I think," observed Blackburn. "Even the runs that were hit for 3-4 yard gains, we hit them at minus one or one yard or at the line of scrimmage and he [Redman] just continued to roll forward a little bit."
The Giants travel to Cincinnati to play the Bengals on Sunday. The Bengals have lost four straight but — as history will attest — the Giants have lost on five straight road trips to Tigerland since 1972.
The Giants run defense is ranked 19th in the NFL at 118 yards per game.
"It's so correctable and that's the frustrating thing," said Tuck. "Most times you'd rather just get your butt whipped up front and say, 'Well, I did my best and they still beat me.' we had some things that we could've easily corrected."
The "S" word. Good for describing babies' behinds or Kenny G's rock but not the Giants D.