The Giants' season came to a merciful but positive end yesterday with a 20-6 victory over the less fortunate Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium. They finished the season at 7-9 after an 0-6 start, no small feat no matter who they defeated down the stretch to salvage their season.
"It meant everything," said safety Antrel Rolle when asked what winning seven of the final ten games meant to the team. "This is the last game we had to go out there and showcase what we had for the 2013 season and closing it out with winning seven of our last ten games, we can’t ask for too much more than that. The team showed a lot of resiliency and we went out there and fought together as a team."
The win was a costly one, however. LT Will Beatty fractured his leg. WRs Hakeem Nicks (ankle) and Rueben Randle (knee) both limped off the field in the first half. In addition, the rarest of occurences: QB Eli Manning got hurt.
Manning left the game right before the half, sustaining a high ankle sprain trying to escape Redskins' DE Chris Baker. He stayed in the game the next play, throwing an INT, his NFL-high 27th of the season.
"I couldn’t finish the game. I obviously wanted to. The doctor said it would not be a good decision, and I agreed with him. I don’t think I could have been very effective playing after the injury," said Eli, who was in a walking boot after the game and needed a pair of crutches to get around.
Eli explained how the injury occurred: "It just felt like he kind of bent me back and my foot was stuck. I knew it was hurt a little bit at the time and just hoped it wasn’t worse, and I’m very happy to hear it was just a sprain."
Asked if he felt he should have come out of the game immediately after the injury, Eli said he didn't he was hurt that severely at first...
"Obviously I would have liked to eliminate one interception on the year, but it didn’t work out. I was hoping that sometimes you get an ankle or you get something banged up and it goes away after a second, so I stayed in and covered the guy pretty well. I didn’t think I was going to pull it down and run it at that point and tried to fit it in there and it ended up being tipped up and intercepted, so it didn’t work out well for us."
Yesterday's game may have been the swan song for several players. OL David Diehl, a staple on the Giants' offensive line, is most likely one of them.
"To be out here to play the last game was very important for me because this could be the last time I wear a Giants’ jersey and a helmet, or it could be the last time I play football in general," said Diehl after the game. "This was my last year on my contract and number one, to be blessed to have the opportunity that I can walk away on my own terms if I decide to, that’s huge. Not many guys in the NFL can do that. I’m proud and I’m honored to be a New York Giant and be here for over a decade."
DE Justin Tuck, who finished the season with 11 sacks, was asked if he'll be back next year.
"Do I expect to be back? I really don’t know," said Tuck. "I don’t know. I really don’t. If you tied my hands, I think I did the best I could do to warrant being back, I guess. But like I always say, time will tell. We’ll go into this and we’ll sit down and we’ll talk and we’ll figure it out."
LB Jon Beason is also a free agent this offseason. He wants to return. The Giants are likely to make that happen.
“I would love to play here next year,” said Beason as per NJ.com. “I want to continue to play football at a high level and I’m trying to win a championship. … That’s my No. 1 priority, right. And that is something I think we can do here. I think the pieces are here and you don’t really need to look elsewhere.”