Beginning the final quarter, Manning throws a beauty to Cruz, but he drops it. He was probably so shocked to be open for the first time today his excitement caused shaky hands.
On third-down, Bennett gets a case of the jitters, adds another big drop to the drive.
Fourth-down: Hello, Newman. The former Cowboys corner prevents Nick from catching the fade, and the G-Men turn it over on downs.
So, yeah, momentum — I guess not. Three and out for Big Blue.
A quick turnaround, the Giants’ O gets another shot. They’ll go on with Hixon for the rest of the game.
Bradshaw getting a bigger workload to begin the second half. Running hard, having more success as they continue to feed him.
Now, a fumble inside the Bengals’ 15-yard line. Again, momentum killed.
What can go wrong this time? Midway through the third quarter, the Giants begin this drive at their own 18.
As Manning attempts to elude the pass rush, he twirls like a ballerina, then throws the ball away like one, too. The ball falls into Pat Simms’ hand, and yet again a Giants turnover puts Cincy in scoring position.
Trailing 24-6, now the Giants will work their running game. Gotcha. Because this is desperation time.
Waaaaaaaa.. Back to back interceptions by Manning, this time into the arms of Nate Clements. Pass rush overwhelms Manning and throws to Bennett, who was smack in-between double coverage.
Did I say 24-6? I meant 31-6 now, thanks to another Bengals passing touchdown fueled by a Giants miscue.
Bradshaw finding lanes to run through because Cincy is backing off to defend against the big play. Really, though, it appears as if the Bengals have an answer for everything the offense throws at them.
ANOTHER third-down, and failed. Penalty gives them a second chance, though.
Analysis: The game is out of hand at this point. Anything the Giants can muster offensively is a bonus and a confidence-builder heading into their bye week, which apparently the team began today.
Stop! David Wilson sighting in the Giants’ backfield to begin Quarter 2. Still, though, we’re stuck in neutral.
A long, clock-draining drive by Cincy extends to lead to 14 and finally gives New York the ball back with just over 4 minutes remaining in the half.
Kevin Gilbride must be feeling the sense of urgency now, and rightfully so. The Giants come out throwing, and Nicks is really the own effective form of offense.
With 2:40 left in the half, we have a Cruz sighting! That’s his first grab of the afternoon.
2-minute warning, but the Giants are showing some signs of life! Here we go.
Manning finds Reuben Randle, playing for the injured Domenik Hixon. A screen to Randle, which goes nowhere. On 3rd-and-6, a curious call — a fade that falls short and is batted down.
Giants going for it on fourth-and-6 … a slant complete to, yes, Nicks, who is putting together quite the half with his seventh catch of the game, fourth on the drive.
A minute to go, Manning finds Martellus Bennett for the first time today. Momentum then destroyed when Dunlap sacks Manning for the second time.
Forty seconds and on 2nd-and-16, Manning hits Brown over the middle. Then, finds Bennett in the back of the end zone, but the big tight end cannot stay in-bounds.
Giants settle for a second field goal, cut the lead to 11 before the half.
Analysis: The Giants finally came alive on offense, largely due to emergence of Nicks. The Giants’ “other” receiver caught 7 passes for 63 yards, while Cruz and Bennett have combined for 2 catches for 19 yards. Still, the Giants have only ran for 16 total yards, but playing from behind against a stellar front-seven, the run game might not be the best way to attack. Let’s see how this offensive success plays out when they get the ball to begin the third.
Already facing an uphill climb due to A.J. Green gashing the Giants secondary, Big Blue stalled. After going 2-for-10 on third-downs last week against Pittsburgh, the Giants got exactly what they didn’t need – a 3-and-out.
Now in a 14-0 hole, Carlos Dunlap and Robert Geathers sacked Eli Manning on third down, and yet again, the third-down theme is rearing its ugly head.
On Steve Weatherford’s punt, Will Hill, recently promoted from the practice squad, forces a fumble and New York recovers on the Cincinnati 27-yard line.
Alas, the Giants’ best offense thus far is a muffed punt.
Already in field-goal position, Manning looks to Hakeem Nicks twice. Unable to really ignite the offense, however, the Giants settle for a 23-yard Lawrence Tynes field goal.
Cincy 14, New york 3.
Analysis: If not for the fumble, the Giants would not have been able to make it to Cincy’s side of the field. They’re trying to get Ahmad Bradshaw going, but the Bengals front seven is playing tough. Victor Cruz is successfully being smothered by Leon Hall, and it’ll be up to Nicks to make plays against Terrence Newman.
Follow Sam on Twitter @SamSpiegs