New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has hung in tough this season behind a terrible offensive line that barely protects for him.
And finally, in Week 17, Manning took the hit he couldn't keep playing through.
Manning was hit as he threw an incompletion near the end of the first half, tried to stay in but eventually limped right back to the locker room with what the team announced was an ankle injury. Giants backup quarterback Curtis Painter started the second half, and fumbled his first snap of the game.
Manning got hit awkwardly by defensive lineman Chris Baker with about a minute to go in the first half, and his leg got trapped underneath as he went down. He threw an interception on the next play, and left the game after that.
It was surprising to see Manning hobble off because he has been a model of durability. Manning hasn't missed a start since taking over the Giants' job midway through his rookie season in 2004. He has played through injuries during his streak, but there was no reason to keep going in a rainy game between two teams that were long ago eliminated from the playoff race.
Manning had a terrible season, and his last interception on Sunday was his league-leading 27th of the year. Perhaps it's for the best for him to miss the final half of it, and start to turn the page to 2014.
- - - - - - -