Giants win, but are eliminated from playoffs

Patricia Traina, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- In a sign that things have deteriorated for Eagles head coach Andy Reid, Philadelphia lost its regular-season finale on Sunday 42-7 to the New York Giants, a team the Eagles had dominated dating back to 2008.
The Giants finished with a 9-7 mark, matching their regular-season mark of last season, when they won the Super Bowl. However, the Bears' victory over the Lions Sunday eliminated New York from playoff contention this season based on tiebreakers. The Giants head into the offseason pondering how a promising season that began 6-2 slipped through their fingers.
"Definitely a bittersweet feeling today," said Giants safety Antrel Rolle. "Our main focus today was to go out there and take care of today. We have no control over any other games that were going to be played today, and we were hoping things would fall in our favor but it didn't end up being.
"We put ourselves in this situation. We had several opportunities and we didn't capture it. But today on a positive note it was good to go out with a bang and play the way we can play as a team, have an excellent team performance."
Meanwhile, the Eagles' loss at MetLife Stadium likely signals the end of Reid's tenure in Philadelphia.
"It was not a good enough performance today," said Reid, who added that he hadn't spoken with owner Jeffrey Lurie about his immediate future. "The guys, I thought, played hard, but too many things happened early that we never recovered from."
The Eagles, who reinserted quarterback Michael Vick into the lineup after losing rookie Nick Foles to a broken hand, tried a little trickery on the opening kickoff after losing the coin toss. Kicker Alex Henery executed a perfect onside kick, which was recovered by the Eagles' Brandon Hughes on his 47.
However, things quickly went downhill for the Eagles as Vick's pass intended for tight end Brent Celek was picked off by Giants safety Stevie Brown, who returned it 48 yards.
"He got hit, the ball sailed on him and he threw an interception," said a stoic Reid.
That turnover set up the first of three consecutive Giants touchdown passes thrown by quarterback Eli Manning. He connected with rookie receiver Rueben Randle on the Giants' first two scores, completing TD passes of three yards and 38 yards. His third touchdown pass in as many possessions was a 15-yarder to running back David Wilson, which made it 21-0 Giants.
The Eagles finally got on the board early in the second quarter as Vick and the Eagles twice converted fourth-down attempts. The first came on a fourth-and-10 and was converted on a completion to Celek. But the second one was bigger as Vick found receiver Jeremy Maclin in the end zone for a seven-yard score to make it 21-7.
The Giants, though, continued to pile it on, scoring twice before halftime thanks to a one-yard touchdown run by running back Ahmad Bradshaw, which was set up by a pass interference call against Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, and a 24-yard touchdown pass from Manning to receiver Victor Cruz.
Earlier in the second quarter, the Eagles had tried to close the scoring gap when it was 28-7, but Vick missed receiver Damarius Johnson, who was wide open in the back of the end zone on third down, and Henery's 28-yard field goal attempt went wide left.
The Eagles mounted their best drive of the game on their second possession of the third quarter, driving all the way to the Giants' 38. However, a holding penalty against guard Jake Scott set them in third-and-long, with the drive stalling.
The Giants, meanwhile, finally got a touchdown pass to fullback Henry Hynoski, who celebrated his 24th birthday Sunday. Hynoski was the recipient of Manning's fifth touchdown pass of the day, a one-yard toss that made it 42-7.
The Eagles, who finish 4-12, are headed for a busy offseason of change, starting with the likely dismissal of Reid, who, if terminated, concludes his tenure as head coach of the Eagles 140-102-1.
"You guys have written about it; just go check your notes," Reid said when asked what went wrong this season. "We didn't win enough games."
Vick, who lost the starting job to Foles, is also likely finished with the Eagles as he still believes he's capable of being a starter in this league.
"I don't know," Vick said when asked if he wanted to return to the Eagles next season. "I just want to take some time to think about everything that happened this season and reflect on it. I can take the positives away as far as what I was able to accomplish, but ultimately I wish I could have accomplished more for my teammates, but I don't know. I just need to get some rest."
The Giants, who will gather for one last time as a team on Monday, will go into the offseason looking not at this win, but at the two losses that preceded it. With those losses, the Giants went from controlling their destiny to needing help from others that never came.
"I really do want to discuss with some of the players what in the world were the last two weeks all about?" said head coach Tom Coughlin. "Quite frankly, I'm anxious to find out if anyone has any opinions or an answer because our program literally is the same except for the emphasis throughout the course of our introduction of the next opponent.
"That's not to say that the two teams that we faced weren't outstanding football teams; they are. But we certainly could have been a lot more competitive."
Notes: Assuming Reid is dismissed as head coach of the Eagles as expected, he finishes his tenure with a 17-14 career mark (regular season and postseason) against the Giants. He also posted an overall 8-3 mark against New York dating back to 2008. ... Manning's three first-quarter touchdown passes were the most in a quarter for him since 2006 in a game against Seattle. Manning, who finished with five touchdown passes for the first time in his career, tied the franchise record last achieved by Phil Simms on Sept. 7, 1980. ... Vick's interception on the Eagles' first offensive series of the game marked the 10th time the Eagles have turned the ball over on their first or second offensive series from scrimmage. That turnover was the Eagles' 37th of the season. ... Eagles linebacker Casey Matthews suffered a concussion in the second quarter and did not return. . . . The Giants hosted approximately 200 students, parents, teachers and administrators from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

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