CINCINNATI – The Giants had allowed Eli Manning to be sacked just six times in their first eight games but Manning has gone down six times the last two weeks in losses to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, including four times in Sunday’s 31-13 defeat against the Bengals. Manning was hit another eight times, resulting in two interceptions in the third quarter.
“He was under duress a lot today,” said head coach Tom Coughlin. “The protection was not what you would want; it’s a combination. There were times when perhaps the protection was good and we were holding the ball a little bit longer due to people not being open or whatever.”
David Diehl started at right tackle for the second straight week following a return from injury. Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap beat Diehl for a 6-yard sack late in the second quarter on a first down play from the Cincinnati 14. The Giants eventually settled for a 31-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes.
Dunlap ended up with 1.5 sacks, another tackle for loss and three quarterback hits. He wasn’t alone. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins didn’t show up big on the stat sheet but he lived up to his Pro Bowl status by being a constant disruption in the backfield and at the line of scrimmage. Journeyman defensive end Wallace Gilberry had a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery on one play in the fourth quarter.
“I got to see (Atkins) a couple of times but it seemed like he was one-on-one with the guards all of the time both ways. It’s disappointing. It was ugly all the way around,” said center David Baas. “I feel like, when the run was called, we did some good things with the run game but the pass game – I’m up there and I can’t see how long (Manning) is holding it and how people are getting to him. I just know that the outcome was bad.”