The Giants could have clinched the NFC East division championship
with a victory over Washington, but must now depend on a victory on the
other side of the country -- in Oakland -- next Saturday night to clinch
their first NFC East prize since 2000.
The Raiders, woebegone and sadly disappointing this season,
nevertheless have the offensive weapons to spring a major surprise on
the Giants, and nobody would enjoy it better than Oakland quarterback
Kerry Collins, who left the Giants in anger after the Giants traded for
Eli Manning on draft day 2004.
He saw the handwriting, of course, and was not in a mood to be
charitable. "I ain't no baby sitter," he said at the time. He turned
down an offer from general manager Ernie Accorsi for a three-year
contract worth $7 million, with the second and third years voidable by
either party -- and he would still get the full price.
So he left, demanding his release, and signed with Oakland for
approximately $2 million less.
It has been disappointing for him in Oakland, and he was even benched
for a game in favor of seldom-used Marques Tuiasosopo. The Oakland
offense was thought to be a barn-burner this year, with the acquisition
of wide receiver Randy Moss to go with Jerry Porter, and the signing of
free agent running back LaMont Jordan from the Jets, a budding starter
just itching to get clear of Curtis Martin.
It was not to be, and now the only thing the Giants want from Collins
is a division championship, the prospect of which should make for a
delightful cross country flight on New Year's Eve.
The Giants were never in the game against the Redskins, save a brief
portion of the first quarter when rookie Chase Blackburn, starting at
middle linebacker for the injured Antonio Pierce, intercepted a Mark Brunell pass and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown, giving the Giants
a 10-7 lead.
After that, however, it was a case of sloppy offense and shoddy
defense and a failure to stop Washington wide receiver Santana Moss
(five catches, 160 yards, three touchdowns) and running back Clinton Portis (27 carries, 108 yards, one touchdown -- and one touchdown pass).
Giants running back Tiki Barber, who has carried the team during its
stretch run, struggled to get 80 yards in 16 carries, and could not
light a fire for the offense. Perhaps the most glaring weakness was
quarterback Eli Manning. He struggled for the fifth consecutive game,
and it became clear that the receivers were not in synch with their
Defensively, cornerbacks Curtis Deloatch and Will Allen were beaten
unmercifully. Allen, a five-year veteran who has played reasonably well
until the last two games, was embarrassed more than a few times by Moss.
Incidentally, after 15 games Allen has yet to record an interception.
--Rookie LB Chase Blackburn was released from the hospital Sunday
after leaving Saturday's game on a stretch following a collision that
left him with a neck stinger. Coach Tom Coughlin said he would be
surprised if Blackburn was available to play next Saturday. "The medical
post trauma obviously is in the neck area. But, all the tests disproved
any fact that there might be some type of fracture or anything like
that," Coughlin said. "There was nothing of that nature. He is sore, his
neck is sore, and we think he's going to have to recover from this
obviously, but he's out of the hospital and he does not have any type of
-- LB Jessie Armstead, who has not played in the league this season,
worked out for the Giants last week. Coach Tom Coughlin did not rule out
signing Armstead to bolster a beat up linebacking corps.
-- LB Carlos Emmons (strained pectoral muscle) did not play against
Washington, and coach Tom Coughlin said he did not expect him to play
-- TE Jeremy Shockey appeared to be working the referee's for a
penalty Saturday while Redskins LB Lemar Marshall was intercepting a
pass intended for him. "We need to finish the play obviously and the
result was an interception, which probably should not have been thrown
in that area anyway," coach Tom Coughlin said. "But, you can't expect
officials to -- they're not going to make that call anyway until
probably the play is over."
Shockey, who labored with a sore/sprained ankle for most of the
second half Saturday, caught just two passes and, for most of the game,
was covered by Redskins SS Sean Taylor, a former teammate at the
University of Miami. "He always does a good job," Shockey said. "We work
out together in the off-season. He's tough but he doesn't usually stop
-- C Shaun O'Hara was particularly upset after Saturday's loss. "The
last thing we wanted to do was fly to Oakland to win our division
championship," he said. "We had many, many opportunities to win today.
We just couldn't finish it."
-- The Giants' Game Inactive list included four starters -- MLB
Antonio Pierce, SLB Carlos Emmons, ORT Kareem McKenzie and RDT William Joseph. Blackburn, Reggie Torbor, Bob Whitfield and Fred Robbins,
respectively, filled in.
-- RB Tiki Barber, who had 80 yards in 16 carries, giving him 1,656
yards in 329 carries this season, tried to explain Saturday's loss. "We
had plenty of chances," he said. "We just couldn't find the big play
when we needed it." He needs just 12 carries vs. Oakland to tie the
single-season team record (341, Joe Morris, 1986).
-- DE Osi Umenyiora, the NFC's sack leader in just his third season,
was rewarded by the team with a six-year, $41 million contract