Steelers vs. Giants: Areas of Concern for New York Following Defeat

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVNovember 4, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 04: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants is sacked by Lawrence Timmons #94 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during their game at MetLife Stadium on November 4, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The New York Giants were flat-out ugly on both sides of the ball in Sunday's 24-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and there are many areas of concern for the G-men.

The Giants sit at 6-3 on the season following the loss and are far from receding as one of the NFL's elite teams, but they still have plenty to work on in the next week in order to right their wrongs.

Let's take a look at where the Giants must improve and their areas of concern after the loss.

 

Eli Manning's Troubles in the Passing Game

There's no doubt that Eli Manning is an elite quarterback. He's proven this much in two clutch Super Bowl-winning drives.

But he's slumping big-time, and he can't waste any more time finding out how to get his groove back. 

Manning finished with awful stats Sunday: 10-for-24 for 125 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. His counterpart on the day, Ben Roethlisberger, didn't have an excellent game but definitely outplayed the New York gunslinger with two touchdowns on 21-for-30 passing.

Facing the Steelers defense is never easy, but throwing for fewer than 150 yards and a completion rating under 50 percent isn't acceptable against any opponent.

Sunday was the fourth-straight game in which Manning's passer rating dropped, and that's a trend that must be corrected next week when the Giants travel to Cincinnati

 

Third-Down Efficiency

The Giants had a disadvantage in time of possession with fewer than 25 minutes, and much of that is attributed to their poor conversion rate on third down. 

New York finished 2-for-10 on third down, while the Steelers converted nearly half of the time at 6-for-13. 

With Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown to go along with Manning's strong passing attack, the Giants have a balanced offense and shouldn't show the type of inefficiency on third down that they showed on Sunday.

It's awfully hard to maintain slim leads when your offense can't sustain drives, and that was a major contributor to the Giants' loss. 

 

Finishing

Given recent playoff history, the Giants are widely regarded as one of the most clutch teams in the National Football League.

They didn't show that Sunday, as they gave up a 20-10 lead by allowing the Steelers to score 14 fourth-quarter points and steal a victory from the G-men.

While New York's defense can't be happy at the ineffectiveness of Manning's offensive production late in the game, they have to be able to string together stops when the game is on the line. They didn't do that Sunday, as the Steelers seemed to be moving the ball at will and wouldn't be stopped from notching a comeback victory.