Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - November Rain isn't just a painfully long
power ballad by Guns N' Roses. It also describes the mood around the reigning
Super Bowl champion New York Giants when the calendar flips from Halloween to
The Giants and title-tested quarterback Eli Manning just can't seem to figure
out things in the month and continued their annual funk in Cincinnati on
Sunday falling to Andy Dalton and the Bengals, 31-13.
Cincinnati had its way with Big Blue from the opening possession, a drive
which culminated with Dalton firing a 56-yard touchdown pass to star receiver
Dalton went on to play mistake-free football for the first time this season,
hitting 21-of-30 passes for 199 yards to help the Bengals snap a four-game
"It was a big win for us. We knew it was going to take our best effort to win
and that's what happened," Dalton said.
Manning, on the other hand, threw two interceptions and lost a fumble for the
Giants, who now head into their bye week on a two-game losing streak.
"I don't have anything I can say I was pleased with," said an angered Giants
head coach Tom Coughlin. "We need to play better.
Manning finished with just 215 yards on 29-of-46 attempts and did not throw a
touchdown pass for a third straight game -- his longest drought since his
rookie season in 2004. Peyton's little brother has now thrown 98 passes since
last finding the end zone, the worst stretch of his nine-year career.
"I have to start playing better," Manning said. "We can fix it."
Some have speculated that Manning is fighting through a tired arm, something
"I don't think so. I don't feel like it's tired," the veteran said.
It's hardly time to panic in East Rutherford. The Giants have overcome far too
much in the past few years to let a couple of midseason losses deter them
from their ultimate goal, another Super Bowl berth.
Meanwhile, New York is still atop what's shaping up as a very poor NFC East.
Washington coach Mike Shanahan practically admitted the Redskins were done
after a home setback to Carolina on Nov. 4, and it wouldn't be surprising if
Andy Reid tapped out on his season after Michael Vick went down with a
concussion during Philadelphia's 38-23 loss to the Cowboys on Sunday.
And even though they are now in second place, one game behind the Giants in
the loss column, no one is taking the always immature and often undisciplined
Cowboys all that seriously. Dallas is prone to implosion when things are going
well in North Texas and this version of the 'Boys is still under water on the
season with a porous offensive line.
All of that could change quickly, however, if New York can't figure out its
November issues. The Giants are now 13-21 in the month under Tom Coughlin.
"We done been here before," Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul told the
New York Daily News. "I hate hearing it, but we have."
The bye couldn't have come at a better time for the Giants.
It will enable Manning to recharge his battery and perhaps more importantly,
it means only one more game until the calendar turns to December.
"I hate the fact we keep putting ourselves in these situations," defensive end
Osi Umenyiora said. "I guess we have to play with our backs against the wall.
That's what it seems like and I don't know why it has to be that way."
THE MONDAY REWIND:
SMITH LOOKS BAD IN CHICAGO
Make no mistake, the NFL is concerned about concussions.
Whether you believe the league is really worried about the safety of its
players or is just pivoting in response to a mountain of pending litigation on
the horizon is a discussion worth having but it's also a moot one. At least
until player safety is deemed more important than winning to all involved --
the league, its teams, players and fans.
Right now winning remains paramount to all of those parties.
Three significant starting quarterbacks went down on Sunday with concussions.
Eagles fans finally got their wish when rookie Nick Foles went in for Vick
early in the second quarter of Philadelphia's latest loss, while the mighty
49ers had to settle for kissing their sister after second-year man Colin
Kaepernick was forced to take over for Alex Smith against the Rams.
Finally Jay Cutler was knocked silly on Football Night in America by a helmet-
to-helmet shot from Houston linebacker Tim Dobbins late in the second quarter
during the Bears' 13-6 setback to the Texans.
The handling of Cutler was the most disturbing. Despite immediately grabbing
the sides of his helmet after getting popped, a sure indication his bell was
rung, Cutler was allowed to stay in the game until halftime, running seven
more plays and visibly getting hit in the head on at least one more occasion.
After the game Bears coach Lovie Smith had no problem offering his medical
opinion despite the fact there is absolutely no way he could have been
properly briefed by his staff.
"Didn't have any symptoms, no," Smith said when asked why Cutler was allowed
to stay in. "There were a lot of hard hits out there today. You can't start
taking guys out for that. When they're injured, then we take them out."
That my friends is an incredibly foolish statement in today's politically
correct environment. It also magnifies just how significant the problem is for
Look, Smith is an old school guy and so is Cutler for that matter. Both wanted
to beat the Houston Texans on national television. Whatever you think of the
enigmatic Chicago signal-caller, understand he undoubtedly wanted to keep
playing and wasn't pushed by anyone.
It's all about winning now -- not about repercussions 20 years down the line.
But there is a far bigger issue here -- one that could take down a $9 billion
"He took some shots," an incredibly ill-prepared Smith said at his post-game
presser. "It (a concussion) could happen any time. We just know that at that
half, that's when he did have some symptoms."
So exactly what were the symptoms Dr. Smith?
"Whatever the symptoms are for a concussion," Smith stammered. "I mean, I
wasn't in there. I'm going to let the doctors handle that."
That's probably a good idea moving forward.
The NFL already fined the Redskins $20,000 earlier this season for misleading
the media when Robert Griffin III suffered a concussion. The Bears may want to
check the mailbox for their own FedEx package this week.
HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM
If you want to know how players think about injuries in general, look to Lions
cornerback Chris Houston, who went down with an ankle injury during Detroit's
34-24 loss to the Vikings.
Houston, who was hurt during Adrian Peterson's 61-yard touchdown run which
basically sealed the game for the Vikings, offered an inside look on how
players view the game.
"Lineman just fell on my ankle on purpose," Houston told MLive.com. "I went to
cut him, and as he went down, he put both knees on my ankle on purpose."
If you think Houston had a problem with that, however, think again.
"It's part of the game," he said.
TERRIFIC TIGHT ENDS
In the New Orleans Saints' 31-27 win over previously unbeaten Atlanta, tight
ends Jimmy Graham of the Saints and Tony Gonzalez of the Falcons both had at
least 120 receiving yards and two touchdowns, marking the first time in NFL
history two tight ends accomplished that in the same game.
Graham, the heir apparent to Gonzalez's unofficial title of best receiving
tight end in football, finished with 146 receiving yards and two TDs while
Gonzalez had 122 yards with two scores.
Gonzalez, a nine-time All-Pro, has been rewriting the record books all season
and wasted little time on Sunday. His first reception in the game, a 19-yard
pass from Matt Ryan, was the 1,200 of his career, making him one of only two
NFL players to ever reach that plateau. Jerry Rice is the all-time leader with
an out of sight 1,549 receptions.
"He paved the way for me," Graham said when talking about Gonzalez. "It is
definitely something that motivates me. ... No tight end plays the game like
he does. It's simply amazing that he's done it for this long. I try to learn
as much as I can from him."
Gonzalez also became the first tight end and just the eighth player in NFL
history to record 100 touchdown catches during the contest, and passed Cris
Carter for eighth place on the NFL's all-time receiving yardage list with
13,955 yards. Additionally, Gonzalez extended his own record for 100-yard
receiving games by a tight end with his 30th.
The superstar offered an insight into what has made him so great over the
years afterward. Despite all the new milestones, Gonzalez wasn't in the mood
to do any celebrating after his team's first loss.
"I'm not going to give you a magic answer as to why they won," Gonzalez said.
"This is a typical football game, a hard-fought game, a rivalry game, and
they came out on top today."
-Denver quarterback Peyton Manning threw for 301 yards and a touchdown in the
Broncos' 36-14 win at Carolina, tying Dan Marino for the second-most TD passes
in NFL history with 420. The victory was also Manning's 147th as a starter,
matching Marino for third-place on the all-time list.
-The Ravens' Jacoby Jones had a 105-yard kick-return touchdown in Baltimore's
55-20 win over Oakland, becoming the first player in NFL history with two
career 105-plus yard kick-return touchdowns. Jones tied the NFL record with a
108-yard kick-return touchdown in Week 6 against Dallas.
-Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson improved to 5-0 as a starter at home after
throwing two touchdown passes in the Seahawks' 28-7 win over the New York
Jets. Wilson is the first rookie quarterback since the 1970 merger to win his
team's first five home games in a season.
-Peterson ran or 171 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings win over Detroit,
his 11th career 150-yard rushing game, the most among active players. In the
same game, Lions receiver Calvin Johnson notched his third career 200-yard
receiving contest, two behind Hall of Famer Lance Alworth for the most ever.
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