EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- If somebody is going to take the blame for the New York Giants miserable start, it’s Tom Coughlin.
The 67-year-old coach pointed the finger at himself for the Giants’ worst start since the 1987 strike season.
And he was a little miffed that two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback Eli Manning seemingly is getting the majority of the blame for the 0-5 start.
"The guy is trying to play the best he can," Coughlin said Monday in a conference call. "He’s certainly trying to do too much. He knows his team and he knows his responsibility. He’s an extremely accountable guy and he’s going to do everything he possibly can. Sometimes it’s not to be done that way."
Once clutch in the fourth quarter, Manning has struggled with the game on the line this season.
He has thrown a league-high 12 interceptions, including three on consecutive series in the fourth quarter in Sunday’s latest flop, a 36-21 loss to Philadelphia. New York trailed 22-21 before the interceptions.
Nick Foles turned two of those picks into touchdowns that iced the game for Chip Kelly’s team.
On the flip side, Manning has not had much help. His offensive line has been a work in progress since the start of the season and he has been sacked 15 times.
The running game has been non-existent, averaging 57 yards, and that was before top running back David Wilson sustained a neck injury in the first quarter this past week.
While the receivers have made a number of catches, they have dropped several deep throws by Manning this season that could have been difference makers. A couple of poorly run patterns have also contributed to the interception total.
Still, Manning has taken the heat. It’s not the type of play expected of quarterback who came into the season with 24 fourth-quarter comeback wins. That was third among active quarterbacks, behind big brother, Peyton, and Tom Brady.
"We did visit today and he feels bad about the game, just as we all do," Coughlin said after meeting with Manning on Monday.
"We’re suffering from remorse from an opportunity lost, but he’s certainly going to get right back up again in preparation, a very short preparation for the next opponent."
The Giants have a short week. They play the Bears in Chicago on Thursday.
"I wish I could bring his spirits back up, but it takes a little bit of time," Coughlin said. "Unfortunately it’s very, very close to yesterday and he’ll bounce back. He’ll bounce back."
Receiver Victor Cruz said Manning seemed to be OK on Monday.
"He seemed like himself," Cruz said. "He didn’t seem stressed."
Cruz wasn’t surprised Manning was getting the heat for the losing streak, noting that the quarterback is his own worst critic.
"He is so proud of the way he plays, and wants to play great each and every week," Cruz said. "When things go the opposite way, he is the type of person that takes a lot of that blame.
"But that’s not the way it is. It’s everyone, the receivers, the offensive line. Everyone is to blame for some of these losses."
The Giants had a chance to win every game this season except the one against the Carolina Panthers. Kansas City took control of their game with a late third-quarter punt return for a score.
The games against Dallas, Denver and Philadelphia were there for the taking if the Giants made enough plays.
"It’s pretty frustrating," Cruz said. "We understand that one of these games has to turn for us, one of these games has to be the one where we minimize our turnover and penalties and be able to break through to the other side."
Linebacker Spencer Paysinger appreciated Coughlin taking the blame for the team, but he said the players need to share the responsibility. He also said they are the ones who need to step up.
"For us, we’re not even thinking about the playoffs now," Paysinger said. "That’s too far away for us to think about. Right now we are 0-5 and looking for our first win, hopefully coming on Thursday."