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Sunday, October 6, 2013
Tuck doesn't blame offense for defeat

By Kieran Darcy

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- While Eli Manning threw away Sunday's game with three interceptions in the fourth quarter, Justin Tuck defended the offense afterward.

"I’ve been around here long enough to understand, they go through their ups and downs, we go through our ups and downs," the veteran defensive end said, following the New York Giants' 36-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. "That offense has gotten us out of a lot of jams that the defense has put us in. Right now it’s time for our defense to get them out of a jam, because they’re not playing well right now, and obviously we’re not either.

"I have all the confidence in the world that they’re gonna figure it out."

The defense definitely has some things to figure out, too. The Giants are only the third team in history to give up 30-plus points in each of their first five games, joining the 1954 Chicago Cardinals and last year's Tennessee Titans (credit Elias Sports Bureau).

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick left the game late in the first half with a hamstring injury, but the Giants were diced up by backup Nick Foles, who completed 16 of 25 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns.

"We hadn’t practiced for Foles, so you don’t necessarily know what type of offense they're gonna try to run with him," said Tuck.

The Giants' defense did have a moment in this game. After Manning connected with Rueben Randle for a 26-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter, cutting the Eagles' lead to 19-14, the defense took the field during a TV commercial break, while the Eagles' offense remained on the sideline. With loud music blasting through the stadium loudspeaks, the 11 defensive players huddled up and soon whipped themselves into a dancing frenzy, to the delight of the fans.

The Giants then forced the Eagles into a three-and-out, and less than two minutes later Manning connected with Randle in the end zone again, putting the Giants in front. But it obviously did not last.

"That was reminiscent of better times here," Tuck said. "And I think that’s why you see guys a little bit more down than normal. Because we haven’t played four quarters yet. We’ve been in football games. It’s tough. I think I’d rather get blown out than to think I have a chance of winning and then losing at the end."

Tuck and his defensive linemates once again failed to get to the quarterback. The Giants had just one sack, shared between Cullen Jenkins and Mathias Kiwanuka. The Giants have just five sacks in five games.

The fans booed the team off the field at halftime. They weren't as loud at the end of the game -- most fans had already escaped before the clock struck 0:00.

"We deserve to get booed," Tuck said. "They come here to see a good product, and right now we’re not a good product."

The Giants are searching for answers after dropping to 0-5 for the first time since 1987.

"I wish I could stand up here and tell you that we haven’t been working hard. But guys are busting their tails to figure this out," Tuck said. "I’ve seen more people in meeting rooms, I’ve seen more people watching film, I’ve seen more people working out after practice, I've seen more people running after practice. I wish I had answers for you. But right now it’s just not paying off for us."

Now they have just three days to prepare before taking on the 3-2 Bears in Chicago on Thursday night.

"There’s only two ways to finish this season," Tuck said. "That’s either figuring out some kind of way to right this ship and get some positive momentum going here, or you can sulk and feel sorry for yourself and have the worst season ever in Giants history."