Giants sputter offensively in 23-0 loss to Cardinals
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Eli Manning’s first trip to University of Phoenix Stadium was one of the highlights of his career.
His latest — and possibly last — was a desert dud.
Manning had three turnovers and the sputtering New York Giants were shut out for the first time since 2014 in an ugly 23-0 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
“We didn’t convert on third down or score any points, so I didn’t play well enough,” said Manning, who was intercepted twice by Antoine Bethea and had a fumble returned for a touchdown.
The Giants (2-13) had a shake-up three weeks ago, firing general manager Jerry Reese and second-year coach Ben McAdoo. Little, outside of one good offensive half last week, has changed in New York since then.
The Giants have continued to struggle under interim coach Steve Spagnuolo, even with Manning back following a one-game benching.
Manning was effective with the short passing game in last week’s 34-29 loss to Philadelphia, completing 37 of 57 passes for 434 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. He returned Sunday to the site of one of his greatest moments: Super Bowl MVP performance in the Giants’ dramatic 17-14 win over New England at University of Phoenix Stadium in 2008.
Manning was not nearly as effective against the Cardinals (7-8), laboring to get the Giants moving against an Arizona defense that had its first shutout in 25 years. Manning threw one interception from midfield while trying to get the ball deep to tight end Evan Engram in the first quarter. He was picked off again in the second quarter on a poorly thrown ball into double coverage.
The closer came in the fourth quarter, when Manning fumbled on a sack and Arizona’s Robert Nkemdiche rumbled 22 yards for a touchdown to put the Cardinals up 23-0.
“No one wants to lose and lose as many as we have,” said Manning, who finished 27 for 45 for 263 yards and a passer rating of 57.9. “It has been tough all year. Nothing has come easy. We lost some heart-breakers and we lost some like this where we never could get much going.”
Even when the Giants moved the ball, the points didn’t come.
New York reached Arizona’s 15-yard line early in the second quarter, only to see Aldrick Rosas miss a 33-yard field goal wide left.
The Giants moved backward after Ross Cockrell intercepted Drew Stanton at the Cardinals 27 in the fourth quarter. New York had three penalties — two that were accepted — and Manning was dragged down on a short gain on fourth-and-25 to turn the ball over on downs.
New York went 1 for 14 on third downs, 1 for 4 on fourth-down attempts, and had 10 penalties for 101 yards. The Giants, one of the NFL’s worst rushing teams, ran for 43 yards on 20 carries.
“It was simple message to the team after, and in this league you can’t win games if you beat yourself,” Spagnuolo said. “That is what I thought happened today. Penalties certainly killed us in all three phases. All three phases had penalties that resulted in bad situations for us, field position etc., etc. It begins and ends there.”
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