PITTSBURGH -- It takes a lot to wipe the smile off of Victor Cruz's face, but the Giants finally found a way by ignoring him Sunday.
The Giants' former star receiver didn't have a single pass thrown to him during the Giants' 24-14 loss to the Steelers. Eli Manning threw 39 passes in the game to seven different targets, including 25 to three other receivers. But nothing went toward Cruz, despite the offensive struggles.
Asked if that was frustrating, Cruz said, "Take a guess."
So why was he ignored in the Giants' attack?
"I have no idea," he said. "That's not a question for me to answer. … I'm going to talk to somebody. Somebody's got to give me an answer as to why."
There's probably not a good one waiting for him, though, just as there wasn't a week ago when Manning didn't throw a single pass to Sterling Shepard. The Giants' offense just isn't clicking right now, and they rarely can seem to get the most out of what they thought would be a dangerous receiving trio which features Odell Beckham Jr. Both Manning and coach Ben McAdoo were asked why Cruz was nothing but a decoy.
Their answers were non-specific, and likely non-satisfying, too.
"We weren't efficient," McAdoo said. "We need to be more efficient. We'll go back and take a look at it."
"It just depends on what defenses are doing, what's going on and where he ends up lined up sometimes," Manning added. "I have total confidence in Victor. Sometimes he might just be the second or third progression on some things and (we don') get through everything."
This game was the low point in Cruz's comeback season, which is still remarkable considering he missed nearly two years with serious injuries to his knee and calf. His numbers, though, have been far from remarkable. He has just 27 catches for 462 yards and a touchdown in 11 games and hasn't had more than one catch in a game since the Giants' bye week.
He has just three catches for 131 yards in the four games he's played since then. He has also shared time with undrafted rookie Roger Lewis, who has five catches for 66 yards in the same span.
Cruz, who has been targeted only 49 times this season, doesn't think the lack of attention he's getting has anything to do with him not getting open.
"There's always opportunities for everybody to get the ball out there," he said. "I didn't get those today. It is what it is."