Giants quarterback Eli Manning admitted after Thursday's 20-10 loss to the Washington Redskins that playing without much of its starting receiving corps has been difficult.
Since losing Odell Beckhma Jr., Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris to season-ending injuries in Week 5, and with Sterling Shepard missing four of the past six games, Manning has been held to under 225 yards five times, including a season-low 113 yards on Thursday.
"Well we've lost a lot of players," Manning said, according to the New York Daily News' Pat Leonard. "We're missing our three starting receivers for a lot of the season. We've got some new guys in doing some good things, we're missing some linemen, so we're missing some key players on offense, and it's tough to catch up and make up and make some of those plays with the playmakers that we lost."
The 36-year-old Manning completed just 13 of 27 passes, was sacked four times and threw a game-sealing interception on the Giants' final drive. His 44.2 passer rating and 6.3 quarterback rating were both his lowest of the season, as the Giants fell to 2-9.
"It's no fun losing," Manning said, according to Leonard. "It's no fun not scoring enough points offensively. So yeah, it can wear you out, it can test you, but we've got to keep going to the drawing board to find ways to play better and move the ball and score some points."
The Giants average just 15.6 points per game, which ranks 31st in the league, and have scored just 13.4 points per game in their last five.
Beckham only played in four games, and yet he remains the team's third-leading receiver with 302 yards. Shepard, who leads the team with 475 yards, did not play the past two games due to migraine headaches.
Rookie tight end Evan Engram, who ranks second on the team in receiving yards, has totaled four catches for 27 yards on 13 targets over the past two games. The Giants' leading receiver on Thursday: Tavarres King, who had 36 yards. In fact, King's 27-yard reception on the Giants' last drive helped Manning surpass 100 passing yards, a number he last failed to eclipse in October 2007, according to NJ.com's Steve Politi.
"We just never got in great rhythm," Manning said, according to the New York Post's Steve Serby. "Combination of everybody -- I had to hit some throws, guys had to win some, guys had to make some catches. Each play kinda has its own reason for not being successful."
The Giants' running game, meanwhile, has also struggled. The Giants have had just two 100-yard rushers over the past two seasons: Paul Perkins in Week 17 last season and Orleans Darkwa in Week 6 this year. Darkwa and Wayne Gallman combined for 67 yards on 20 carries on Thursday.
"It's frustrating," Darkwa said, according to Leonard. "We've got to figure out how to get the offense going. We've got to get some points on the board. Can't expect the defense to do it for us all the time. Just gotta get it going. We'll get it right."
Asked if he takes the losing personally, Manning told Serby: "I think everybody takes it personally. You always think about plays you could have made that made a difference. Yeah, it's tough."