EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — After standing on the field in a drenching rain for more than three hours at MetLife Stadium, Tom Coughlin and Mike Shanahan met at midfield and wished each other well.
It was the same thing the two 60-something head coaches had done twice a year for the past four years when the Washington Redskins played the New York Giants.
When they did it Sunday after the Giants’ 20-6 victory, it was different. It was probably going to be the last time.
A year after leading the Redskins to the NFC East title, Shanahan’s future with the team is very uncertain after a 3-13 season that ended with eight straight losses.
Shanahan has a meeting with owner Daniel Snyder on Monday. Many expect him to be fired. Part of it is the record. The other part is his shaky relationship with franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III.
“I’ll first talk to Dan and hopefully I’ll get a chance to talk to you guys,” Shanahan said after the game. “You guys can ask me all those questions you’ve been wanting to ask me for a while and I’ll get a chance to answer them.”
While the Giants (7-9) have missed the playoffs four of the past five years, Coughlin seemingly is not in trouble. The Giants’ owners have a great amount of respect for the man who led them to Super Bowl titles after the 2007 and ’11 seasons. This also might have been one of his better coaching jobs. After the Giants lost their first six games, the 67-year-old led a banged-up team to a 7-3 record.
Coughlin refused to discuss his future, but players said they would be surprised if he did not return.
“I hope he’s back and he said he wants to be back and the Giants want him back,” said quarterback Eli Manning, who was knocked out of the game late in the first half with a sprained left ankle. “You never know how these things work out, but I definitely hope that he’s the coach of the Giants next year.”
Defensive end Justin Tuck, whose own future with the team is uncertain, said he’d be “shocked” if Coughlin doesn’t come back.
“He prepares his butt off and I think the fire is still there,” Tuck said. “I think he still feels like he has a lot to prove in this league and I think he’s going to go into this offseason just like all of us, figuring out ways to have a better season next year and I think you’re not going to find anybody that’s going to prepare a team as well as he does. Obviously I’m biased, but I damn sure hope that he’s manning the sidelines next year.”
Manning finished 10 of 24 for 152 yards in his 151st straight start. He threw his career-high 27th interception of the season, but also connected with Jerrel Jernigan on a 24-yard touchdown pass that gave the Giants the lead for good.
Jernigan also scored on a 49-yard run and Josh Brown kicked two field goals.
Kai Forbath kicked two field goals for Washington after Giants turnovers.
Five things we learned from the regular-season finale between the teams that won the last two NFC East crowns:
JERNIGAN’S EMERGENCE: Since taking over for an injured Victor Cruz three weeks ago, the seldom-used Jernigan has 19 catches for 237 yards and two TDs. He also scored on an end around on Sunday. He clearly has earned a spot in the passing rotation next season.
BYE BYE LONDON: Redskins linebacker London Fletcher played in his 256th consecutive game and probably the last one of his 16-year career. He finished with 215 consecutive starts, most for an NFL linebacker. “It feels like we lost the Super Bowl for me,” he said. “That’ll probably be my story at the end of it. Twenty years from now, I lost my final game in New York the year the Super Bowl was there.”
POISED GIANTS: Despite losing their first six games, the Giants showed a lot of character this season. “We’re a never-quit and never-die locker room,” safety Antrel Rolle said. “No matter how tough times may get, tough times never last, tough people always do and this is an extremely tough football team. ”
GET HEALTHY, RGIII: While Kirk Cousins played well at times filling in at quarterback for Griffin in the final three weeks, he doesn’t present that added run option. The Giants limited Alfred Morris to 62 yards rushing and that forced Cousins to throw. He was 19 of 49 for 169 yards, two interceptions and a lost fumble.
GIANTS LINE: The Giants offensive line was banged up all season and there is now one more concern with left tackle Will Beatty breaking a leg Sunday. During this season, center David Baas was lost to a knee injury and Chris Snee was lost to a hip injury. Guard David Diehl finished his 11th season and his future is in doubt. The Giants need help next season.
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