The difference between 1-5 and 0-6 in the standings may not be so great, but in terms of morale and confidence moving forward it would certainly carry weight.
The New York Giants were that close to rallying back against a formidable Chicago Bears team Thursday night to get their first victory, but a late Eli Manning interception cost the Giants the win and dug the team into an even greater hole. Yet coach Tom Coughlin remains confident in his quarterback.
"I'm fully confident (in Manning)," Coughlin said. "It's the same thing we said in Dallas. It was 30-24. We had the ball in the middle of the field. I'm very, very confident we're going to score and win the game. And I will continue to be.
"You continue to support (Manning), to put out the issues, to try and understand how it happened so it doesn't happen again ... He's been too successful for so many years throwing the ball."
On the final interception, Manning admitted his pass was too high and he knew he missed an open receiver. Internally, he's dealing with the fact he made the mistake that cost the Giants a win.
Given his history of comebacks, this loss was especially tough. Used to being the reason his Giants can rally late, his level of frustration is even greater because this one dropped his team to 0-6.
"It's frustrating not winning, and it's frustrating because I don't feel like I'm doing my part to get this team some wins and some chances," Manning said. "Guys are doing their parts, and I need to start doing mine.
"I feel bad for my teammates. I feel bad for my coaches. Everybody is fighting every day, and I'm fighting, too. I'm trying to get a win for these guys, but you know, it's tough. It's definitely tough at times when you don't feel like you're playing your best."
Teammate Brandon Jacobs, who had the best game in his first start in more than two years, has known Manning for a long time. After the game, he offered his quarterback no advice other than to "stick with it."
Antrel Rolle said in the Giants locker room the players don't point fingers, and veteran Justin Tuck said despite how frustrating or disappointing the loss might have been, it isn't fair to blame Manning for the loss.
Perhaps Coughlin summed it up best when he said it takes a team effort to get a win, and that process begins again on Monday.
"You have to go back to work. You have to bust your tail. You have to put everything you can into preparation and try to go win a game just like you'd do any under any other normal circumstance," the coach said. "It gets a little tougher, obviously, the first day of the week when the players are down and low. But this group comes back up. We're all sick of it. We're sick of the losing, but we put ourselves in this position and there's only one way to get out of it."
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