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Tom Coughlin Calls Giants' Defense 'Soft' After Poor Effort Against Steelers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - After winning two improbable Super Bowls in five years, the Giants under Tom Coughlin have established themselves as a hard-working, no-nonsense football team that does whatever it has to to win.

But the Giants -- currently sitting atop the NFC East with a 6-3 record -- took Sunday's loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers particularly hard.

Up 20-10 in the fourth quarter, the defending champions surrendered 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. And to make matters worse, the Giants' run defense -- which is usually stellar -- allowed third-string running back Isaac Redman to rush for 147 yards and a touchdown

Coughlin wasn't too pleased with his defense's effort, and he even went so far as to use that dreaded word in his description of their play ... soft.

"It was soft, no question," Coughlin said on Monday, according to the Star-Ledger. "It was soft early. We came back and played a little bit better, and then they had their breakout there at the end of the game."

Safety Antrel Rolle struggled with the fact that the defense couldn't take down Redman, who found the end zone with 4:02 left in the game to seal the victory for Pittsburgh. He gave the backup player credit, but maintained that allowing him to perform the way he did is simply unacceptable.

"I think he did an excellent job, I think he earned every yard that he got," Rolle told WFAN co-hosts Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts in his weekly spot on Tuesday. "But my mentality is that you can't allow a backup player to have that kind of performance against you."

The G-Men were a bit shorthanded on the defensive side of the ball, as starting middle linebacker Chase Blackburn missed the game with a hamstring injury. Though he wasn't on the field with his teammates, the Akron alum was still able to assess where his unit went wrong.

"We had some poor tackling, I think," Blackburn said. "Even the runs that were hit for 3-4 yard gains, we hit them at minus one or one yard or at the line of scrimmage, and (Redman) just continued to roll forward for a little bit. A bigger back like that, we have to get him by his legs and stop him from churning."

Arguably the leader of the Giants' defense, two-time Pro Bowler Justin Tuck was frustrated by the fact that the defense didn't play more efficiently -- plain and simple.

"It's so correctable, and that's the frustrating thing," the defensive end said. "Most times you'd rather just get your butt whipped up front and say, 'Well, I did my best and they still beat me.' We had some things that we could easily have corrected."

How do you explain the Giants not being able to stop third-string running back Isaac Redman? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below...

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