The Good, Bad and Ugly of the Giants Loss

Tom Coughlin sums things up pretty easily

There are games that need thousands of words to properly capture everything that took place on the field and then there are games that can be summed up in less time than it takes to read a recipe for making toast. 

Sunday's 34-0 Giants loss to the Falcons is one of the latter games. Tom Coughlin told you just about everything you need to know when he started his postgame press conference. 

"Atlanta was very, very good. We were very, very bad," Coughlin said. “There's no excuse for what happened here."

Can't argue with that. The Giants looked as flat as they've looked at any point this season and any attempt to excuse that should fall on deaf ears because, win or lose, effort is the very least you can expect from a team. 

The Giants had none, which is a failure of the players and a failure of Coughlin to get them going on the field. Yes, there were key injuries to deal with but there are injuries everywhere and they are only a crutch for teams that are mentally weak. 

Calling the Giants mentally weak would be tough to support given how many times they have answered dire situations with strong performances. We'll find out in the next two weeks, though, because the Giants have certainly found themselves in such a situation once again. 

Their loss, coupled with wins by the Cowboys and Redskins, means that the Giants can only back into the NFC East title with the help of losses by teams ahead of them. If they win out, they will still wind up in the playoffs as a wild card, so it isn't like all is lost by any means. 

At this point, though, how much faith do you have that the Giants are capable of playing two good games in a row? They haven't done it in two months and that admirable ability to play well when the chips are down now looks a lot more like a lazy team that can't be bothered to give full effort every time they take the field. 

That's an ugly picture, but an increasingly accurate one. Here's the rest of the good, bad and ugly of Sunday's Giants loss. 

BAD: This loss can't be laid at Eli Manning's feet, but a team built around superlative play from their quarterback can't win if he keeps playing like this. His accuracy is down, his decision making is lacking and, to make a long story short, Eli's been looking a lot more like he did in the early years of his career than the Super Bowl winner from last year. 

UGLY: Jayron Hosley was forced into the lineup because of Prince Amukamara's injury and the results were hard to watch. He got caught peeking in the backfield on one big pass play that wound up setting up a touchdown and Julio Jones simply ran past him on a 40-yard score. 

UGLY: The mistakes by Hosley and the rest of the secondary would feel a lot less glaring if the Giants pass rush existed anywhere outside your memory banks. Justin Tuck likes to talk a lot about being a leader and what others need to do, but any self-analysis would lead him to know he needs to speak less and do more to make it stand up.

GOOD: We're not crazy about sports teams trying to become some kind of official face of tragedies, mostly because sports is an escape from the horrors of things like the murder of so many at Sandy Hook Elementary School. If teams are going to do it, though, we're glad there are men like Victor Cruz willing to offer whatever they can to the families suffering in the aftermath. 

GOOD and BAD: David Wilson certainly seemed fine carrying the load as the team's lead running back and he came close to breaking a few big gainers, but we also fully understand why the team buried him for the first 12 weeks of the season. His pass blocking was atrocious, forcing the team to use Ryan Torain and Kregg Lumpkin to keep Manning from getting planted into the Atlanta turf like some over-sized peach tree. 

BAD: Lawrence Tynes missed another field goal. That's three in three weeks for Tynes, who sure knows how to pick the wrong time to go into a slump. 

UGLY: We started with the total lack of effort from a team that looked like it just wanted to go home and we'll end there because we're still scratching our head to figure it out. The inconsistency of this team doesn't speak well for anyone involved with the organization right now. 

Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

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