By Paul Dottino
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The loud thud you just heard should not come as any surprise.
The Giants, who lost any realistic hope of making the playoffs two weeks ago against Dallas, sealed their fate with a dismal 37-14 loss to the Chargers. Despite having the same 5-7 record as the Giants, San Diego came into the game with better postseason odds and played like it.
Offense: None — RB Andre Brown ran for 81 yards on 16 carries, but 57 yards came in the second half — the Giants already were down 24-0 at halftime. He also was charged with a fumble late in the second quarter. WR Hakeem Nicks caught five passes for 135 yards, but 51 came on a Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half.
Defense: DE Justin Tuck — He got after the passer for a second straight game, posting two sacks, including a forced fumble to start the third quarter.
Special teams: P Steve Weatherford — He punted three times for a 47-yard avg. (46.3 net).
Offenese: QB Eli Manning — It usually is too easy to single out the quarterback when an offense struggles — the Giants only ran 23 snaps and held the ball for 10 1/2 minutes in the first half — but there is nobody else to turn to given the unit’s few chances. On the Giants’ second drive of the game, Manning fired a rope over the middle to WR Reuben Randle. The pass failed to lead Randle; the ball was tipped and intercepted by Crezdon Butler at the San Diego 20. Three plays later, the Chargers took a 7-0 lead and the snowball started to gain momentum
Defense: CB Terrell Thomas — He got beat by WR Keenan Allen on a go-route down the right sideline for a 43-yard TD on 3rd-and-3 that opened the scoring. The put the Giants in a hole they never were able to dig out from.
Special teams: CB Charles James — He was flagged for an offsides penalty that took Nick Novak’s 41-yard try (wide right) off the books and allowed him to hit from 36 for a 10-0 edge with 11:01 left in the half.
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