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The Fourth Quarter Is Unkind to Giants This Time

Late miscues hand Seattle a 36-25 win

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    Welcome back, Bad Eli!

    Karma caught up with Victor Cruz on Sunday afternoon.

    One week after Cruz appeared to fumble away the Giants' chances to win in Arizona, he seemed to be on his way to a heroic performance in another fourth-quarter comeback. But the fates weren't having it.

    Cruz slipped and juggled a pass inside the Seattle five with a little more than a minute remaining that turned into a Brandon Browner interception. Browner took it 94 yards for a touchdown, and the Seahawks left New Jersey with a 36-25 victory. 

    It was Cruz's second brutal play of the game. He had fumbled after a catch earlier in the fourth quarter to set up a Seahawks field goal that tied the game at 22.

    Those two plays will overshadow what might have been the catch of the year even earlier in one of the most eventful fourth quarters you could ever hope to see.

    Eli Manning threw a pass deep down the field into double coverage that the Seahawks probably should have intercepted, but only tipped up into the air. Cruz reached out with his right hand, tipped it up again and then reeled it in with one hand while sprinting down the field for a 68-yard touchdown.

    Words don't do the play justice. It is going to be a contender for the play of the year, although it won't be the Cruz play that people remember come Monday.

    Cruz is hardly the only goat, however. The Giants were awful for most of Sunday and probably shouldn't have been in position to win the game.

    Their offensive line whiffed on block after block, leading to a safety and three sacks of Manning. The defense couldn't stop the Seahawks at all in the first half and Aaron Ross and Antrel Rolle combined to totally lose track of Doug Baldwin on a 27-yard touchdown catch that gave the Seahawks the 29-25 lead the Giants were trying to erase before the Browner interception.

    Of all the negative developments, the least welcome was the return of the 2010 Eli Manning to the offense. Manning has been off to the best start of his career and threw for 420 yards, but his ability to make a mess reared its ugly head with four turnovers, including an interception on an inexplicable throw to end the last-ditch final drive.

    Manning had the entire weight of the offense on his shoulders because the Giants simply could not run the ball behind their terrible offensive line. Will Beatty's first year at left tackle has been particularly bad, although the entire group deserves a thrashing from Tom Coughlin when they watch the film.

    Still, the Giants had a shot because the Seahawks turned the ball over three times in Giants territory -- twice in the red zone -- and because Seattle committed 10 penalties to hurt themselves when the offense was moving the ball. Their production dropped off when starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson left the game with an injury, but this was a game that would have been firmly in their pocket if not for all the mistakes.

    Maybe the Giants just felt bad about capitalizing on another team's misery, but it seems more likely that they came into the game overconfident about beating a team that hadn't won in our neck of the woods since 1983. Whichever reason you choose, the Giants might want to start playing before the fourth quarter of games at some point if they want to make anything out of this season.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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