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Bumbling Giants' 0-2 start has many worrying about 0-6 again

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EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey — The New York Giants are looking at another long season after only two games.

Turnovers. Penalties. Missed tackles. Little offense.

All the ingredients are in place for the Giants (0-2) to miss the playoffs for a third straight season, and even possibly match or exceed last season's 0-6 start.

The Arizona Cardinals handed Tom Coughlin and the Giants their second straight loss, getting a go-ahead 71-yard fourth-quarter punt return for a touchdown by Ted Ginn Jr. and a solid effort from backup quarterback Drew Stanton playing for an injured Carson Palmer in a 25-14 win on Sunday.

"You work as hard as you can," Coughlin said of turning things around. "You run around like a crazy man. You get your coaches to apply themselves even harder. You get your players to apply themselves even harder. You know what? I look out there. They are men. We're all men. Stop feeling sorry for ourselves. We had an opportunity and we let it slip away. There's no one to blame but ourselves."

There is no doubt about that after losing to a quarterback who had not played in a regular-season NFL game since 2010.

Stanton threw for 167 yards and led the Cardinals (2-0) on three long scoring drives in helping them win for the ninth time in 11 games and rally to win for the second straight week.

"It speaks a lot about the character of this football team and the leadership of the football team," Cardinals coach Brian Arians said.

"We've had two very contested fourth quarters that I thought we handled really well. This one went a little bit easier in the last three or four minutes because we made it go easier."

The Giants helped. They gave up the big return, turned the ball over three times and saw Victor Cruz drop two key passes.

"We'll be all right," said Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who had 1½ of the Giants four sacks. "We'll be all right, trust me. We'll be all right."

Jonathan Dwyer scored on a 1-yard run and Chandler Catanzaro kicked four field goals, including one a minute after Ginn's electrifying return on which the speedster bounced off a tackle and was gone.

PHOTO: New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) is sacked by Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Cardinals won the game 25-14. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) is sacked by Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Cardinals won the game 25-14. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The Cardinals got the ball back right away after Quintin Demps fumbled the ensuing kickoff return.

Eli Manning (26 of 39 for 277 yards and two interceptions) threw two touchdown passes for the Giants, a 7-yarder to Rueben Randle in the second quarter and a 1-yard toss to Daniel Fells, the last one putting New York ahead 14-10 late in the third quarter.

Stanton, who finished 14 of 29 and no interceptions, closed the gap to 14-13 on a 13-play, 74-yard drive that Catanzaro capped with a 37-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.

The Giants went three-and-out when Cruz could not catch a third-down sideline pass in front of the Cardinals bench.

It proved costly.

Steve Weatherford, who tore ligaments in his left ankle in the season opener, got off a low punt. Ginn bounced off an initial tackle by Zack Bowman, circled right and turned upfield. Only Weatherford had a chance to tackle him and it was a mismatch.

"I went in there, took a shot at him, hit him real hard," Bowman said. "I was trying to wrap him up and I was never able to wrap him up. I have to do better."

The Cardinals, who rallied to beat San Diego last Monday night, failed on the 2-point conversion run. But Demps' fumble and the ensuing 32-yard field goal by Catanzaro pushed the lead to 22-14.

New York had a chance to tie, moving into Cardinals territory with less than five minutes to play. Then running back Rashad Jennings lost his footing after catching a swing pass and fumbled at the 15.

And the Giants now seem on their way to another horrible start; they opened last season 0-6.

"We have to stop hurting ourselves," cornerback Prince Amukamara said. "The penalties, special team, the turnovers. All that stuff has been hurting us. It's not what they are doing to us. It's what we are doing to ourselves."

NOTES: Hall of Famer Frank Gifford served as the Giants' honorary captain. ... Giants CB Walter Thurmond left in the second half with a pectoral injury. He did not know the extent of his injury. Giants MLB Jon Beason left with a toe injury. ... Ginn's return for a touchdown was the first by the Cardinals since Peterson's 80-yarder in 2011. ... The Giants outgained the Cardinals 341-266. ... Ellington had 91 yards on 15 carries and Larry Fitzgerald caught six passes for 51 yards. ...Tight end Larry Donnell led New York with seven catches for 81 yards.


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