Wideouts a bright spot in loss to Eagles

October, 6, 2013
10/06/13
8:15
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It's tough to talk about positives when a team is 0-5. But the New York Giants' wide receiver corps had a pretty good day in the team's 36-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Hakeem Nicks had a season-high nine receptions for 142 yards, after collecting just 116 yards in the Giants' previous three games combined. Rueben Randle had six catches for 96 yards and a pair of touchdown grabs.

Victor Cruz was held in check, with just five catches for 48 yards. But Eli Manning still threw for 334 yards in total.

Unfortunately, he also threw three interceptions -- all in the fourth quarter, on three consecutive possessions.

[+] EnlargeRueben Randle
Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY SportsRueben Randle had a breakout game, making six catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns.
"We had some good drives and I thought we had a good plan of what they were doing," Manning said. "We just left some plays out there -- some deep plays down the field and some third-down conversions. Then, obviously through the third quarter we had some good drives and take the lead, but then the fourth quarter we just didn’t play well."

"Offensively, we just have to take care of the ball better," Cruz said. "It's as simple as that. We make plays when we have the ball in our hands and we are pitching and catching, moving the ball up the field and when we turn the ball over that's when things go awry."

Cruz was Manning's intended target on the second of his three picks. Trailing 29-21, the Giants faced a 3rd-and-10 from their own 20-yard line. Manning dropped back, and fired deep over the middle to Cruz. But Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin was there and snatched the ball away from Cruz.

"I was open. It was just [Eli] was getting dragged down on one side when he tried to throw the ball so it came out a little fluttery as he was trying to release the ball and that gave the defender a chance to put a hand on it and make a play on it," Cruz said. "So, even me, I’ve got to do a better job of trying to rip it out. If I'm not going to get it, no one else gets it."

"I guess if I had it again I probably wouldn’t make the throw," Manning said. "I knew it was going to be tight. I knew it was man coverage. I saw [Victor] get a step and knew a guy was on me and probably couldn’t get everything on the ball that I’d like to get and step into the throw. ... Unfortunately, I made the wrong decision there."

Collecting passing yards hasn't been a problem for the Giants this season. Manning entered the day ninth in the NFL, with 1,148.

But he also led the league with nine interceptions, and now has an even dozen.

There's only so much the wide receivers can do about that.
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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