Sunday, December 29, 2013

Eli Manning Battered & Beaten, But Giants Win


It was pretty ugly at the Meadowlands from the weather to the quality of play on the field. For quarterback Eli Manning, he must be thankful 2013 is now over.

Manning was battered in the first half of a rain soaked contest against the Redskins. He was hit a number of times, sacked once and had a pass intercepted. He was under total duress and didn't look comfortable at all in the pocket against both the Redskins pass rush and the rain drops. The biggest hit the former Super Bowl MVP took was on a desperate roll out to his right and was brought down awkwardly on his ankle just before halftime.

He limped off the field and into the locker room and was not heard from again. The image of Manning limping off to the locker room was emblematic of the entire season, with Manning leading the league in interceptions with 27. He was lost all season, and lost on Sunday.

Give credit to the rest of the Giants, particularly the defense, which got after Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, forcing two interceptions and holding the Skins to 160 yards passing on the day.

 The biggest plays by the defense came with New York backed up against the shadow of their own goal line. With 6:35 to go in the third quarter, Cousins was strip sacked by Justin Tuck, giving New York the football back with a delicate 10-6 lead. Later Trumaine McBride picked off a Cousins pass at the New York 25 to keep Washington out of the red zone.

Curtis Painter wasn't good in relief of Manning, but he didn't make a big mistake to kill the Giants either. He was two of eight for 11 yards, with the only highlight coming on an end around to Jerrel Jernigan, who cut up field and scored on a 49 yard run to break the Redskins back late in the third quarter.

While the Giants won this game to finish at 7-9, it was still a disappointing season for a team that expected so much more this year. It's anyone's guess if this was the final game for Kevin Gillbride as offensive coordinator. Two weeks ago there were reports surfacing that Gillbride would be ousted after the season.

Sunday was no excuse, as the Giants were once again pathetic offensively, even with the rain drops. The Giants made no announcement about changes, but rest assure they are coming.

The Giants will also have to address changes to personnel as well. Hakeem Nicks and Justin Tuck are two big names who might not be back with the Giants next year. Tuck has a big cap number and might be cut. Nicks is a free agent, and underachieved greatly this year, so his return is highly unlikely.

For Giants fans who couldn't wait for the season to end after an 0-6 start, your wish is here. 2013 is over, and 2014 is underway.

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