It's going to be hard for the Giants to ignore those questions about a second half collapse now.
The Giants turned in another rancid offensive performance Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati and they head into their bye week as losers of two straight games after the Bengals crusied to a 31-13 win.
Eli Manning looked a bit better in the first half as he completed 15-of-20 passes, but he fell apart in the second half with a pair of interceptions under pressure that should never have been thrown. Manning made these kinds of mistakes in his first few years in the league, but he has to know when to throw a ball away at this point in his career and he failed to recognize it twice.
The Bucs turned both of those interceptions into touchdowns, blowing open a game that was 17-6 at halftime and seemed to be swinging the Giants' way as Ahmad Bradshaw ran his way down the field on the team's second possession of the second half. Adam Jones stripped Bradshaw at the end of a first down run, though, and the Giants were on their way to their worst loss of the season.
Pinpointing the Giant's offensive issues remains difficult simply because nothing is going well. The running game was ineffective when the game was in doubt, the pass protection was horrid and Manning was again totally off his game. He would turn it over again in the fourth quarter when he held the ball forever before getting strip-sacked.
While the defense gets somewhat of a pass because of the turnovers and because another Bengals touchdown was set up by a 64-yard punt return by Jones, they set the tone for the day when they let A.J. Green, who famously said there were holes in the Giants defense, get behind them for a 56-yard touchdown. The last thing the Giants offense needs right now is the pressure of playing from behind, but that's what they got and they were totally incapable of getting the job done.
It was better the rest of the day, but Andy Dalton made plenty of throws and the Bengals never really seemed to sweat after jumping ahead 14-0.
Tom Coughlin's got a lot of work to do during the bye week to fix an offense that looks nothing like the one that the Giants rely on to win games. We've been here before, of course, but it's worth a reminder that neither the 2009 or 2010 Giants were able to pull out of these second half nosedives.
We'll wait two weeks to find out if this team is destined for a similar fate. Sunday's performance offered plenty of evidence that we could be headed that way.