Giants vs. Bengals: Ugly Loss Should Have New York Fans Worried

Tim KeeneyContributor INovember 11, 2012

Nov 11, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw (44) sits on the bench in the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

This is a classic Giants move.

Get out to a scorching start to the season, put together a laughable month of November that makes everyone forget about you and then come storming back at the end of the year.

The NFL Network's Rich Eisen knows the drill:

It appears the annual mid-season malaise has officially set in for the Giants.

— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) November 11, 2012

So, um, yeah, Sunday afternoon's 31-13 embarrassing defeat at the hands of Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals was all part of the plan. Yeah, totally. No question about it. 

Now, as I channel my inner Eminem, it's time to "snap back to reality."

The Giants looked horrendous in every aspect of the game on Sunday as they dropped their second straight contest. No matter what's happened in the past, that should always be cause for concern.

Of course, it wasn't just that they lost, it was how they lost. 

The defense, as Tom Coughlin himself put it (via ESPN's Adnan Virk), continues to be soft:

#Giants getting embarrassed 31-6. Coughlin with a point on saying his defense is soft

— Adnan Virk, ESPN (@adnanESPN) November 11, 2012

Usually owners of one of the most intimidating defensive lines in the league, the Giants sacked Andy Dalton a stellar zero times. 

The secondary, which ranks near the very bottom of the league in yards per pass allowed, was once again overmatched. Dalton threw for just 199 yards, but he completed 70 percent of his throws for four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

A.J. Green found himself wide open on a long touchdown. Mohamed Sanu—the same Mohamed Sanu who had a career five catches for 56 yards coming into this one—had four catches for 47 yards and a score. 

Still, this one wasn't on the defense. Thirty-one points allowed isn't too bad of a performance when the offense turns the ball over in its own red zone three separate times.

And therein lies the reason why Giants fans should begin to worry: The offense, which has so often carried this team, was pitiful on Sunday.

Eli Manning threw for just 215 yards on a ridiculous 46 attempts. That's a 4.7 yards per attempt, which is the direct opposite of good. He turned the ball over three times and failed to find the end zone. He turned into rookie Eli when he tossed—or lobbed, or did something so bad there isn't even a verb for it—one of the worst interceptions you'll see all season. 

Suddenly, the man who was drawing MVP talk at the beginning of the year, has been atrocious over his last three starts. 

It's worth noting, of course, that throwing from your back isn't the easiest thing to do. The Giants' o-line has been solid run blocking, but it gave up another four sacks and had Manning under pressure all day.

So, where exactly does this forgettable day put the Giants on the panic meter?

I would put them at a five, which slots them somewhere in between me when I go to the dentist and the Los Angeles Lakers after playing six games. 

There are certainly problems with the G-Men, and they haven't looked anything like a playoff team over the past few weeks. But let's not forget New York is still 6-4. It's still first in the NFC East, no matter what happens today. It's still in a division with a bunch of bipolar teams.

The Giants may not look like a playoff team right now, but they are in the right situation to get to the playoffs and do what they do best.

Play exactly opposite of how they played on Sunday.