The New York Giants and Washington Redskins each entered Sunday's game with little to play for. Both were locked into their positions in the NFC East and a win/loss merely impacted their draft position. And although both promised to play for pride, few could have foreseen what would unfold on a cold and rainy day in East Rutherford, NJ.
Going into a meaningless game, there's always a concern over unnecessary injuries. But what befell the Giants was something no one could have dreamed up in their most wild of theories and projections. Not only did the team lose quarterback Eli Manning (ankle), wide receivers Hakeem Nicks (ankle) and Rueben Randle (knee), running back Peyton Hillis (neck/back) and guard James Brewer (ankle), but they lost tackle Will Beatty to, perhaps, the most devastating injury of all.
In what will most certainly impact their offseason, and quite possibly the start of next season, Beatty suffered a vicious broken leg when attempting to bring down a tipped pass.
The injuries, of course, will overshadow the game itself — a game that was, as expected, played every bit as poorly as their respective records would indicate. It was filled will missed tackles, drops, turnovers, offensive futility and the aforementioned injuries. It featured three fights and some very dirty and questionable plays. Expect big fines to be levied next week.
However, in a game filled with so much negativity, there were a few bright spots.
Justin Tuck recorded two sacks in what could be his final game as a Giant, bringing his season total to 11. Meanwhile, Jerrel Jernigan continued to put on a show, taking complete advantage of the opportunity he's been given, hauling in six receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown. But it didn't end there as he added another 57 yards and a touchdown on two carries.
Peyton Hillis also took advantage of increased playing time following an Andre Brown fumble, gaining 56 yards on 17 carries in what could have been his final NFL game (which, not surprisingly, ended with an injury).
At the end of the day (royalties to Antrel Rolle), head coach Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants did exactly what they set out to do. They finished the season with a victory within the division, and did so with pride. They ended the year going 7-3, but it came at an incredible cost. How severe some of the injuries are remains to be seen, but it's already known that they will impact the offseason (at least in the case of Beatty).
With the season now over, the Giants will move forward and begin signing players to Reserve/Future contracts on Monday afternoon.
- With an early Andre Brown fumble, the Giants had turned the ball over at least once in all 16 games this season.
- Justin Tuck recorded his 10th sack of the season, which is the fourth time in his career he's registered double-digit sacks.
- Hakeem Nicks was again held out of the endzone, making him the most targeted WR without a touchdown in the NFL this season.
- It was only the second time this season the Redskins defense gave up fewer than 24 points.
- With his final interception, Manning brought his season total to 27 — the 4th most ever thrown in an NFL season.
- The Giants defense held the Redskins to 5-for-20 on 3rd down and 1-for-3 on 4th down.
- The Giants dropped 5 interceptions on the day, but came away with 3 anyway (2 by Trumaine McBride).
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