Their head coach called the defense soft and a second-year wide receiver believed he and the Cincinnati Bengals offense could exploit a few holes. Tough love from Tom Coughlin and bulletin-board material usually motivate the New York Giants to new heights, but not on Sunday. And once A.J. Green, the kid who called out the Giants defense, was left alone to catch a 56-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton five plays into the game, it was a harbinger of what proved to be a disastrous afternoon for the defending - and slumping - Super Bowl champions.
Dalton threw for four scores, Green caught seven catches for 85 yards and Eli Manning's struggles extended into Week 10 as the Giants' losing streak reached two games with a 31-13 loss to the Bengals. Since building a 23-0 lead against the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants blew that advantage before winning that affair by literally inches, were ran over by the Pittsburgh Steelers and were waxed by the Bengals to see their record slip to 6-4.
The Giants were not only beaten, they beat themselves in a number of ways. Steve Weatherford's 61-yard punt to the Bengals' 14 was wasted when Justin Tryon was flagged for a five-yard penalty for running out of bounds. Adam Jones returned the re-kick 68 yards to the Giants' 11 and Cincinnati cashed in on Dalton's 11-yard strike to Andrew Hawkins. Trailing only 17-6 entering the third, the Giants drove to the Bengals' 16 late in the third, but Ahmad Bradshaw's fumble killed that momentum and signaled the beginning of the end. On their next drive, Manning was picked off by Pat Sims, a turnover Dalton converted into his third TD pass.
Nate Clements picked off another Manning pass which led to another score. Any sliver of hope the Giants had were dashed at the close of the third when Victor Cruz dropped a sure touchdown pass and Big Blue's attempt on fourth and four to open the fourth fell incomplete.
Manning finished 29-of-46 for 215 yards with two picks and a lost fumble. Outside of Hakeem Nicks' nine catches for 75 yards, the rest of the Giants offense vanished into the Cincinnati air.
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