EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey — There was a sense of frustration in Tom Coughlin's voice speaking about the New York Giants' third straight loss.
The 68-year-old coach had asked his team to step up with the season approaching crisis level, and it didn't.
The offense had another no-show effort until the game was out of reach. The defense played well for a half, before being riddled by Andrew Luck in a 40-24 loss on Monday night.
The great effort that was needed to beat the Indianapolis Colts (6-3) never emerged. The Giants (3-5) are reeling again and the prospects for rebounding are not promising with them heading to Seattle for a game in hostile confines against the Super Bowl champion Seahawks (5-3).
A third straight season out of the playoffs is a distinct possibility.
It's no wonder Coughlin got a little short when asked about a late challenge on a play the Colts scored a touchdown on in the second quarter.
"Didn't you hear the explanation last night?" Coughlin said of the tardy red flag prior to the touchdown pass to Coby Fleener. "Wasn't that good enough for you?"
Coughlin then repeated his explanation, noting that the Colts like to rush to the line of scrimmage after a big play so they can run another.
The Giants practiced for that scenario but the players were distracted and never lined up right, leaving Fleener wide open. Some players said they didn't line up because they were waiting for Coughlin to challenge the catch.
Coughlin said Tuesday that Fleener caught the ball, ran four steps and then fumbled and recovered when he was tackled. It was a catch, Coughlin said, adding his challenge was made more to slow the Colts down rather than challenge. He said he never considered a timeout.
"Put it on me," Coughlin said. "We didn't get lined up. We should have gotten lined up. We practiced it all week."
The game was costly for the Giants with Prince Amukamara, their top coverage cornerback, being lost for the season with a torn biceps. He will need surgery and Coughlin said the Giants will probably have to sign another cornerback. They signed Mike Harris off the Lions' practice squad last week.
Coughlin did not like being asked whether the Giants had enough talent to overcome the injuries.
"I am going to respond the way I have always responded, OK," Coughlin said. "We have enough talent. We do have to play at the top of our game."
The Giants have not done that in recent weeks in losing to Philadelphia, Dallas and now Indianapolis.
"Whatever the reason is, we're not winning games," safety Antrel Rolle said. "That's the only thing that matters. Whether it's fight or not enough fight. Whether it's lack of execution. Whatever it may be, we have to figure it out. We have to get it right, otherwise, we'll just keep digging ourselves a hole."
The defense gave up a season-high 40 points and 443 yards to the Colts, the fifth time in eight games a Giants opponent totaled more than 400 yards.
The 3-5 record is the second-worst midseason record in Coughlin's 11 years with the Giants. They were 2-6 last season.
Eli Manning, who threw for a season-high 359 yards and two touchdowns, said the Giants need to get off to faster starts, establish the running game and avoid third-and-long situations.
"I think it's just a matter of we just have to play better," Manning said. "It's the same team. I think we prepare well and we practice well. We do things correctly in practice, but just don't perform well on game day as well as we can."
Coughlin did not have an update on left guard Weston Richburg. He was undergoing tests to evaluate a sprained ankle. Receiver Preston Parker also rolled an ankle in the game, but Coughlin did not think it was a serious injury.
Guard Geoff Schwartz, who has not played this season after a preseason foot injury, might be an option if Richburg can't go, but Coughlin wants him to practice more. He only returned to practice last week.
All content copyright ©2014 Daily Journal, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.