Sunday night was all about the past for the Giants. There was the return of a past star, Brandon Jacobs, to a Giants' uniform. There was the honoring of a past legendary coach, Bill Parcells, who received his Hall of Fame ring during a halftime ceremony. Most of all, after the Giants had fallen to 0-2 there was a lot of discussion about 2007. That year, you recall, the Giants started 0-2 but went on to win the Super Bowl.
The Giants need to stop living on past glory. There were admissions by players that last season they spent too much time waiting around thinking simply that because they had made a magical late-season run in 2011 that it would naturally happen again. It didn't.
Sunday night there was a lot of brave talk about how the Giants had been here before, how they were better than an 0-2 team, how there are 14 games to go and they would keep grinding to get it right.
Veteran guard Chris Snee spoke softly, and probably reluctantly, to a crowd of reporters around his locker after the game. His words, however, carried a loud message.
"That was a different team (in 2007)," Snee said. "We'll have to see what kind of team we have, what kind of fight we have."
Yes, they will. This season may still turn out well, but counting on what they have done in the past won't help them now. It's a lesson they should have learned a season ago.
Kudos to ...
Victor Cruz -- Cruz did what he always does, make big plays. The Giants' first offensive play was a 51-yard strike to Cruz. Unfortunately, it was their only really big play of the game. Cruz finished with 8 receptions for 118 yards.
The Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers -- Those three teams helped the Giants by defeating the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles. It was the best news the Giants got all day.
Justin Tuck -- He was the only defensive lineman who appeared to be a consistent presence throughout the game. Tuck finished with eight tackles, one for loss.
Wet Willies to ...
Run-blocking --The numbers -- 19 carries for a woeful 23 yards -- say it all. That followed a game in which the Giants ran for only 50 yards, giving them 73 in two games. Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings had more than that on his first carry of the season.
I don't even know where to begin in dissecting it. There were free runners, sometimes several of them, making a beeline toward Giants' ballcarriers on almost every play. I can't blame the running backs -- there wasn't anyplace to go. The Giants are the only team in the league that has played two games and does not have at least 100 yards rushing the ball.
Eli Manning -- Manning now leads the league with seven interceptions. Some of them haven't been his fault, but way too many have. The interception at the end of the first half Sunday was a horrible throw that cost the Giants a chance for at least three points and a halftime lead. He admitted post-game that two of the interceptions were his fault. The first one, in the end zone to Hakeem Nicks was a ball Manning said he tried to throw away. Unfortunately, he left it in the middle of the end zone. He also admitted throwing the ball to the wrong place on the fourth interception, a ball intended for Rueben Randle. Manning also threw too high and hard for an open Brandon Myers at the Denver 2-yard line, an incompletion that would have given the Giants a first-and-goal.
Manning has always been a bit of a gunslinger, a risk-taker who will never be a single-digit interception quarterback during the course of a season. He has to play better than this, however.
Jason Pierre-Paul -- There was a guy on the field wearing No. 90 for the Giants, but that could not have been Pierre-Paul. He made five tackles, but was invisible most of the night and never even threatened Manning. His return to form after back surgery appears more painful than anticipated.
Giants' Pass Rush -- Peyton Manning threw 43 passes. The Giants never sacked him and hurried him only twice all night. I'm not sure they even hit him all night. It didn't matter whether they brought four, five or six rushers. They couldn't get close to Manning, who stood like a statue in the pocket most of the night undeterred and able to pick the secondary apart. The Giants are supposedly built to rush the passer, and through two games it certainly doesn't look that way.
Steve Weatherford -- I don't know if this was the worst game of Weatherford's career, but it had to be his worst game in three seasons with the Giants. Weatherford punted five times for a misleading 46.2 yards per punt average. His net average of 22 yards, which included a horrid, line-drive, bouncing punt that Trindon Holliday returned 81 yards for a late-game add-insult-to-injury touchdown was the culmination. Zak DeOssie didn't help Weatherford much, snapping the ball high, low and pretty much everywhere but directly into Weatherford's hands Sunday night, but the kicks still weren't good. "We had talked all week about not punting the ball down the middle of the field, and that's pretty much all it was, down the middle of the field. The last one, which was a poorly punted ball, really rose up to bite us in the tail," head coach Tom Coughlin said.
Kwillies to ...
Prince Amukamara, Ryan Mundy and Terrell Thomas -- Amukamara had 10 tackles, but mostly because he was dragging down receivers who had caught the ball in front of him. He surrendered eight completions in nine targets. Mundy had eight tackles and fumble recovery, but no real impact in slowing Manning. Thomas had five tackles and a pass defensed, but Denver targeted him 13 times, completing seven.