Inside the Numbers: Diagnosing the Giants’ offensive slump

What’s ailing the Giants’ offense these days?

It starts with the quarterback, but he’s not the only player to blame. After all, football is a team game.

A reminder, here were the final numbers in the Steelers’ 24-20 win from Sunday.

First Downs: PIT (22) v. NYG (13)

3rd Down Efficiency: PIT (6-13) v. NYG (2-10)

Total Yards: PIT (349) v. NYG (182)

Passing: PIT (191) v. NYG (114)

Rushing: PIT (158) v. NYG (68)

Possession: PIT (35:15) v. NYG (24:45)

Now, the explanation.

Manning completed 10-of-24 passes for 125 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. He finished with a 41.1 passer rating.

Another interception in this one, Manning’s total is now up to 9. So, sure, he is throwing the ball more and second in the NFL in passing yardage (only Drew Brees has more), but the increased attempts are correlating with more turnovers.

In his last five games, Manning has thrown 5 TD and 5 INT. His QB rating was at 103.3 v. the Browns, and has steadily decreased in every game since.

Manning’s 125 yards v. Pittsburgh was his lowest total in four years. He’s failed to throw more than 200 yards in three of his last four games.

Where is Hakeem Nicks, Martellus Bennett?

Victor Cruz has been the bright spot for New York’s aerial attack. Missing is the go-to guy, Hakeem Nicks.

Nicks was targeted four times v. the Steelers, and he hauled in one pass for 10 yards. That’s it.

Obviously injury derailed the beginning of Nicks’ season, but has proclaimed he’s close or at 100 percent healthy now, so what’s the issue?

In the four games he has played since returning from knee and foot injuries, Nicks has totaled 13 catches for 153 yards and no touchdowns. In New York’s three losses, he has caught 5 passes for 48 yards.

Is Nicks healthy? Are there communication issues between him and Manning?

Nicks said this following the game:

“Once you’re excelling so much offensively, teams are going to start scheming to try to stop what you do,” Nicks said. “We just got to look at that film and start critiquing ourselves and start doing some things differently.

And what’s the deal with Martellus Bennett? The tight end burst onto the scene early on this year.

In his first three games, Bennett caught 15 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns. A red-zone target, Bennett has failed to snare a TD since, and has been targeted 26 times in the last 6 games. In contrast, he was targeted 23 times in the first three.

New York is ranked 24th in the NFL in red-zone scoring this season, at less than 45 percent. Bennett is a big reason why.

Ahmad Bradshaw out of the mix

The common denominator in the Giants’ back-to-back triumphs over the Browns and 49ers was the dominant rushing attack headed by Ahmad Bradshaw.

Two games, 316 yards and touchdowns, coinciding with two convincing wins.

Color me Mr. Obvious, but the Giants need to get back to using Bradshaw on a consistent basis, and add both Andre Brown and David Wilson into the mix.

In the last three games, Bradshaw has carried the rock 49 times. He carried it 57 times against Cleveland and San Francisco.

The Giants’ lost the time of possession battle to New York Sunday because they couldn’t convert third-downs, and in the fourth quarter especially they posted three-and-outs due to a lack of a running game.

The Giants are leaning on Manning to propel the offense, and it’s leading to more interceptions. I ask you .. where is the balance we’ve come to know and love?

Follow Sam on Twitter @SamSpiegs