Shutdown Corner - NFL

A lot of things went wrong for the New York Giants on Sunday, but you get the sense that if this particular play had turned out differently, Week 15 may not have been as disastrous.

On a third down play early in the game, Eli Manning found a wide open Hakeem Nicks with a deep pass into Washington Redskins territory. Nicks had blown past two defenders and had daylight, and nothing else, in between him and the end zone. But the young receiver made the cardinal mistake of attempting to catch the ball with his facemask rather than his hands and a potential touchdown turned into a humiliating gaffe instead.

In Nicks' defense, the ball traveled from sunshine to shade, making it more difficult to pick up in the air. That's of little consolation and no excuse when you're wide open in a crucial game that could end up decide the team's playoff fate.

New York would go on to lose to the Redskins 23-10. The loss means the Giants will have to win its remaining games against the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys in order to qualify for the playoffs.

[ Related: Eli Manning throws three INTs in loss ]

Maybe the team still would have lost if Nicks had caught the ball and gone in for the touchdown. Or maybe the early touchdown and 7-3 lead would have put a struggling Redskins team on its heels and given Eli Manning and the Giants the jolt they needed. After this play, New York's offense didn't get going until a meaningless drive late in the game.

Video: Hakeem Nicks lets touchdown catch bounce off facemask

Usually not a good way to haul in a touchdown catch.

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