The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports
Victor Cruz often found himself double-teamed in 2012.
The first "moment" on this countdown was really more of a constant trend throughout the season, but nonetheless, it defined the G-Men's offensive identity.
This of course was the Giants' inability to develop a consistent alternative to Victor Cruz given the injury-laden season of Hakeem Nicks.
Nicks put forth a valiant effort to compete this year, but he was never 100 percent healthy in 2012.
His 53 catches for 692 yards and three touchdowns were a big drop-off from his 76 receptions for 1,192 yards and seven TDs last season.
To compensate, Cruz was targeted an overwhelming 143 times this season, but his 86 catches, 10 touchdowns and 1,092 yards weren't enough to save an unbalanced aerial attack.
Being ranked 12th in the league in passing this season was no slouch, but ultimately, defenses were able to neutralize Cruz and subsequently force Eli Manning to throw into bad matchups.
General manager Jerry Reese and head coach Tom Coughlin were very candid in how Nicks' impact affected the Giants production on offense.
Via Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com:
"(Manning) has played at a very high level and I don't think he played up to the level that he can play," Reese said. "Again I think it starts (with)... Hakeem Nicks has been one of the linchpins in our offense. He was banged up and I really think it took its toll on our offense and what we are trying to do.
Coughlin also spoke openly with WFAN's Mike Francesa about Nicks' down year.
"I think it’s important that Hakeem comes back and is the player that he was a year ago," Coughlin said in an interview on WFAN radio on Thursday. "And we need that desperately to happen, not only because of what an impact he makes on the game but also because of the versatility that is created by having Randle and (Victor) Cruz.”
"Quite frankly this year, (Nicks was) really having a lot of trouble just getting to that other gear, and (was) very frustrated by that," Coughlin later added. "But the great competitor that he is, trying to be in there every week and trying to help his team... but (it) just kind of strapped (the offense) a little bit along those lines. That was just one part of it. We had been so much a big-play team, and then we had a stretch of games where the big plays in the pass game just weren’t there."