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Monday, November 28, 2011
Updated: November 29, 9:48 AM ET
Collapse creeping into Giants' minds

By Ohm Youngmisuk
ESPNNewYork.com

NEW ORLEANS -- Justin Tuck is thinking exactly what everybody else is likely thinking about the New York Giants.

Here we go again with another epic collapse in the second half of the season.

Not long after Drew Brees carved up the Giants' defense Monday night like a Butterball turkey in a 49-24 romp by the New Orleans Saints, Tuck conceded that it's impossible not to think about another meltdown.

Antrel Rolle
Antrel Rolle called the Giants' defensive output "unacceptable."

"It is absolutely not possible," Tuck said, in response to a direct question. "I am already thinking that. But it is not going to stop how we prepare and go out there and play. We are going to go out there and fight, and that is all we can control."

The Giants (6-5) are losing control of their once-promising season. It was only weeks ago when the Giants walked out of New England at 6-2 and feeling ready to establish themselves as NFC contenders.

But these days, the Giants are a bigger mess than Bourbon Street following Mardi Gras. The Saints destroyed Perry Fewell's defense, racking up 577 yards of total offense -- the second-most yards allowed by the Giants in franchise history.

"It's unacceptable, man," safety Antrel Rolle said. "No matter how you look at it, it is unacceptable."

Brees looked like he was one step ahead of Fewell the entire night. He repeatedly found the open receiver as the Giants were unable to sack Brees. They did manage to hit him six times, but Brees hit them back with five touchdowns -- four through the air and one on the ground. It didn't matter how much the Giants tried to disguise things or change personnel and switch defenders on different receivers, as Brees completed 24 of 38 passes for 363 yards.

The Saints also ran for 205 yards and three touchdowns.

Eli Manning put up some gaudy numbers, but most of his 406 yards and two touchdowns came in the second half when the Giants fell behind by as much as 25 and were trying to fight back.

Without starters Ahmad Bradshaw, Michael Boley, Will Beatty and Mario Manningham, the Giants had to play a near-flawless game to keep up with Brees. But Manning threw an interception in the end zone on the Giants' first possession, and there were two false-start penalties on the offensive line that stalled first-half drives in New Orleans territory.

Rookie Da'Rel Scott lost a fumble in Saints territory that led to another touchdown, and punter Steve Weatherford missed a called-off fake-punt attempt and ran on a fourth-and-7. These are the kinds of mistakes the Giants will never survive and the kinds of errors that turn one loss into losing streaks that seemingly have no end in sight.

Tuck has seen too many of these in his Giants days.

"The only thing that is different right now is that we got the season to play," Tuck said when comparing this losing streak to other second-half struggles under Tom Coughlin. "If I were you guys I would write the same thing, too."

Both Tuck and Coughlin said effort was not the culprit in this loss.

But when asked what has happened to a defense that found a way to slow Tom Brady for three quarters in his own house earlier this month, Tuck had no answer.

"You are asking me questions that I don't know the answers to," Tuck said. "I guess I am blowing hocus pocus up in your face if I give you an answer, because I don't know."

If the Giants don't find a way to upset Aaron Rodgers and the Packers after a short week of practice, their fading playoff hopes will be one step closer to vanishing into thin air. They would probably have to win their last four games -- beating Dallas twice during that span -- and win the NFC East to reach the postseason.

"We still got a chance," Rolle said. "We still got a lot of football left to be played. We have a helluva schedule ahead of us."

"We got to determine where we want to be," Rolle added. "If we are going to throw the towel in, that is not good enough. We are not that kind of team. We are going to fight until the finish. That is who we are."