Giants-Redskins: What we learned

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan scored two touchdowns and the New York Giants topped the Washington Redskins 20-6 at a rain-soaked MetLife Stadium, which was mostly empty by the time the teams left the field to end failed 2013 seasons.
An ugly finale featured seven turnovers as the snake-bitten Giants lost quarterback Eli Manning and starting wide receiver Hakeem Nicks to sprained ankles in the second quarter, and left tackle Will Beatty to a fractured right leg early in the third quarter.
New York won the game to deal the Redskins an eighth straight loss to end the season.
Manning's first pass of the 2013 season was intercepted at Dallas and his last was picked on Sunday in the second quarter on what was his final attempt of the season. Manning limped to the locker room before halftime and did not return to the game.
Redskins defensive lineman Chris Baker rolled up on Manning's ankle just as he threw an incomplete pass to running back Peyton Hillis.
On the ensuing play, Manning tried to connect with tight end Brandon Myers, but couldn't drop back or step into his throw. The ball was picked off by Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson to set up kicker Kai Forbath's 49-yard field goal which gave the Giants a 10-6 lead.
Before being relieved by Curtis Painter in the second half, Manning had connected with Jernigan on a 24-yard touchdown pass to give the Giants a 7-3 lead. He also engineered the team's second scoring drive of the game that ended in Josh Brown's 34-yard field goal.
Painter completed only two passes for 11 yards and was intercepted once in the second half. He fumbled twice, but the Giants recovered both.
The Redskins broke a scoreless deadlock in the second quarter thanks to Forbath's 31-yard field goal set up when Giants running back Andre Brown fumbled the ball away at the Giants' 18.
With the win, the Giants (7-9), who started the season 0-6 finished by winning seven of their last 10 games.

What the Redskins said
"Last week was tougher because knowing that would be my last game at FedEx Field, playing in front of our fans and having announced it last week, the emotions and of everyone calling and texting and all that. This week was a lot easier with Christmas and all the other stuff going on (because) I didn't have to spend as much time thinking about it." -- ILB London Fletcher, when asked if ending his 16-year career on a losing note this week was difficult.

What the Giants said
"We're a never-quit, never-say-die locker room. That's our mentality. No matter how tough times may get, tough times never last; tough people do. This is an extremely tough football team, no matter what kind of ups and downs we might face throughout the season." - S Antrel Rolle, on the Giants' ability to win seven of their last 10 games after starting 0-6.

What we learned about the Redskins:
1. Quarterback Kirk Cousins' three-game audition wasn't exactly a resounding success as he completed just 52 percent of his pass attempts, averaging 5.5 yards per pass completion. If Cousins returns to the Redskins next season, it will be as the backup to Robert Griffin III.
2. Despite playing in what's likely his final game, ILB London Fletcher, a 16-year veteran, remains one of the defense's most active and productive players. He finished this week with seven tackles (three solo), which was fifth-best on the team. Fletcher also broke up two passes.

What we learned about the Giants:
1. The Giants might not have a "next week," but give them credit for listening to head coach Tom Coughlin's message about competing hard right down to the very end and playing for each other. In fact, not one player surveyed in the postgame locker room believed that Coughlin had lost the team at any point in the season. "I can't imagine playing for anyone else," said safety Antrel Rolle when asked if he hoped Coughlin would be back in 2014.
2. Because of injuries, the Giants may have to replace four starters along their offensive line. Left tackle Will Beatty suffered what looked to be a broken leg when he was bent the wrong way. Head coach Tom Coughlin didn't have an update on Beatty's condition, but his injury certainly isn't good news for a team that is widely believed to be targeting guards, a center and veteran depth at tackle for next year.

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