EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants had a new head coach and a new starting quarterback in Sunday's 30-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. They weren't unfamiliar names, but it wasn't the same combination as last week, when the Giants lost to the Oakland Raiders.
They were familiar faces with Eli Manning at quarterback and Steve Spagnuolo stepping into Ben McAdoo's role as head coach. McAdoo was fired on Monday. Manning was essentially reinstated as the starting quarterback moments later.
After having his streak of 210 consecutive starts end last week with Geno Smith taking his place against the Raiders, Manning looked much like the quarterback who had led the Giants (2-11) during their first nine losses. He completed a high percentage of his passes, made minimal plays downfield, and it didn't result in many points. It ended with another loss.
Manning finished 31-of-46 for 228 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions after a whirlwind two weeks that saw an outcry over his benching followed by his eventual reinsertion into the starting lineup.
Both interceptions Sunday came in the fourth quarter, when the Cowboys outscored the Giants 20-0.
The fans got what they wanted with Manning starting. So did the Giants, who reversed course after firing the coach and general manager.
The fans gave Manning a standing ovation prior to the opening drive.
"Yeah, I did [hear the crowd]," Manning said. "I thought we had a good crowd [Sunday] and I appreciate all the support these past weeks and sorry we couldn't get them a better game."
The Giants came into Sunday averaging 15.6 points per game in Manning's first 11 starts. They didn't even get there this week against a below-average Cowboys defense.
Manning drove to the stadium Sunday trying to convince himself it was just another game, even if he's admitted last week's demotion was emotional.
"I guess I just looked at it as, hey, it's another opportunity to go play and win a football game, so obviously the last few weeks have been difficult with losing my starting job and losing your head coach," he said. "Those things are hard and they are personal, and hurt. I don't like losing a head coach, I take that personally. That's on me for not doing my job.
"I don't like losing my starting job. That's personal, also, and that's because I haven't played well enough and we're not winning games. I appreciate Spags giving me an opportunity to get to start this week and see if we could get us a win and I'm sorry we didn't play well enough to get that win."
The original plan before McAdoo was fired was for the Giants to eventually get rookie Davis Webb some game action. That apparently changed with last week's firing. It's now Manning's job potentially for the duration once again.
Manning is likely to start again next week when the Giants host the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium, although Spagnuolo will sleep on it first.
"I don't know. I'm not going to comment on that right now," he said after the game. "That would be my gut feeling [that Manning starts] … without looking at it and evaluating, but Eli Manning is the quarterback right now."
Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan's game plan with Manning back at quarterback was conservative at best. Manning took few shots downfield and hit one pass over 20 yards, a second-quarter completion to wide-open rookie tight end Evan Engram.
Manning was well received in his return. The fans chanted "Eli Manning" after he threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Rhett Ellison in the second quarter.
But Manning's presence failed to provide a spark to a stagnant offense that hasn't topped 21 points in almost two months. It was back to business as usual for them with Manning -- instead of Smith -- at quarterback.
"No different," Engram said. "We just showed up. Came together all week to play a football game together. It's not different."
Going back to Manning looked promising for the Giants early. He completed 14 of 18 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown in the first half, with much of the damage being done on underneath passes. Ten of those 14 completions were to running backs and tight ends.
In the second half, Manning and the offense hit a wall. They did not produce a point.
The afternoon ended with a fan near the press box chanting (likely sarcastically): "We want Geno! We want Geno!"
But after this, don't be surprised to hear, "We want Davis" next.