Rams give Giants taste of own medicine Hostetler to start against Chicago


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- As the New York Giants began putting aside Sunday's loss to the Los Angeles Rams, one of the most painful side effects is that Los Angeles did to the Giants the things that the Giants did to teams last season in their march to the Super Bowl.

"The Rams came in here and took a page out of what we'd like to call our book," said coach Ray Handley. "Control the ball, not make mistakes, use field position to your advantage. Throw when you want to throw, not when someone else tells you to throw. Don't let anyone else dictate the situation to you. They did an excellent job of it.

"Their numbers were not impressive. A lot of times last year our numbers weren't impressive, but we got the desired results. I guess you could say they beat us at our game Sunday. They played a good game."

A night of reflection and a morning of film study did nothing to change Handley's opinion that Sunday's loss to the Rams was not the result of a letdown or lack of effort.

He saw the loss as more a result of failed execution in crucial situations and three turnovers.

Handley doesn't plan any changes in the offense or defense for the game against Chicago next Sunday. Jeff Hostetler will remain the Giants' starting quarterback.

Handley said he thought Hostetler had an off day against the Rams.

"I don't think Hoss was as consistent in this game," Handley said. "There were some high throws during the course of the game. He didn't play nearly as well as he did the week before or in the other games.

"Those are things that we will try to address and spend some time with him and see what he was seeing. It wasn't his best game by any means. There are other people who fall into that category as well. I guess the quarterback is the guy that ends up taking the heat."

Hostetler said there were a couple of passes he'd like to have back, particularly the interception that he threw in the first quarter.

On a third-and-13 from the Giants' 25, Hostetler sent the pass sailing over the head of running back Dave Meggett into the hands of cornerback Darryl Henley, who returned the ball to the Giants' 30.

Hostetler said part of the Giants' problem came from trying to establish a running game.

"We kept trying to get the running game going," he said. "And that puts you in some tough situations when it's not going too well."

In the first half, the Giants weren't successful running the ball, particularly on first down. On seven of the 11 first-down opportunities they had, the Giants ran the football and averaged only 2.2 yards an attempt.

"First-down rushing was a problem?" Hostetler said with an exasperated tone. "First-down passing was a big problem."

Hostetler was sacked and fumbled the football on his first first-down passing attempt. He completed three passes and threw one incomplete.

Hostetler also bemoaned the fact that the Giants got into too many third-and-long situations. On the five third-and-long situations they encountered in the first half, the Giants couldn't convert on any.

"I'd come up to the line of scrimmage and they would all be yelling pass," Hostetler said. "They knew what was coming, because of the down and the distance."

The Rams stacked eight men on the line of scrimmage, but Handley said that had nothing to do with stopping the Giants' rushing attack.

"The four long runs that we had were right into the teeth of the eight-man front," Handley said. "It's not like we can't block the eight-man front. It's just that we missed a block or didn't sustain a block long enough. We had plenty of people at the point of attack to block it. That isn't what took us out of the running game."

Handley said he thought that left tackle John Elliot and left guard William Roberts showed some ill effects from their lengthy training camp holdouts. Roberts missed 45 days of camp and Elliott missed 38 days.

"I think Roberts and Elliot did show some residual effects of missing camp," Handley said. "Everybody was playing pretty hard and trying pretty hard, they were just inconsistent in their blocking on the left side."

Handley said he gauged a certain amount of disappointment from the team over the loss.

"I think they're disappointed, because I thought they played hard and they prepared relatively well," he said. "There weren't a lot of mental errors during the course of the game. I have a hard time faulting the effort level. It's always distressing when you have that situation and you don't win the ball game."

Linebacker Carl Banks (groin injury), safety Myron Guyton (shoulder injury) and kicker Matt Bahr (stiff back) will be slowed during practice the middle of the week, but should be able to play against Chicago.

The most serious injury was to rookie receiver Ed McCaffrey, who suffered a concussion and was hospitalized Sunday night for evaluation. Handley had no update on McCaffrey's condition yesterday.

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