EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- When Sunday dawned here in New Jersey, the New York Giants had played only two games in the past calendar month. They'd won both, and quarterback Eli Manning had not thrown an interception in either of them. These facts, coupled with the schedule quirk that spread out the middle part of the Giants' season so dramatically, served to obscure some significant Giants problems from the narrative that would have them making a miracle run to the NFC East title.
Jerrel Jernigan fumbled the opening kickoff and the Raiders recovered it on the five-yard line, then scored two plays later for a gift 7-0 lead with only 46 seconds having run off the clock. Things turned around a bit for the Giants, as Damontre Moore blocked a punt and Cooper Taylor returned it for a tying touchdown and, later, Manning and running back Andre Brown led an 11-play, 90-yard touchdown drive that put them in the lead 14-10.
Brown looks excellent, showing vision and moving the pile and offering the Giants a look at what they've been missing at running back this season. In his first game since breaking his leg in the final week of the preseason, Brown has 65 yards on 14 carries at halftime.
And the Giants' defense has done a fine job making Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor move his feet and limiting the damage he does when he runs. Pryor has 21 yards on four carries and has yet to break a big one. More surprising, actually, is the 55 yards running back Rashad Jennings has on his nine carries. But regardless, the Giants have been able to pressure Pryor, and the Raiders' offense (which gets the ball back to start the second half) has yet to find any rhythm.
After Rueben Randle made a great play to pick up a key third down in Giants territory late in the second quarter, Manning threw an inexplicable interception right at Raiders cornerback Tracy Porter, who ran it back for a touchdown and a 17-14 Oakland halftime lead.
So yes, even though just went a full month without throwing one, Manning still leads the NFL with 16 interceptions this season. And the Giants sport a minus-14 turnover ratio. Though they might look like the less lousy of the two lousy teams on this field today, they certainly aren't good enough to win games if they turn the ball over at this rate. If they don't come back and win, they would fall to 2-7 for the season and need to win all of their remaining games to finish with a winning record.