The New York Giants closed out a tumultuous 2013 with a win on Sunday. They defeated the Washington Redskins 20-6 with much thanks to 147 yards from scrimmage and a pair of touchdowns by Jerrel Jernigan. The defense also played a big role by holding Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins to just 169 passing yards on 49 attempts. Likewise, star halfback Alfred Morris gained just 62 yards on 16 carries. The Giants needed every bit of that shutdown performance too, because quarterback Eli Manning left the game with an ankle injury at the end of the first half and did not return.
"I talked to [Manning] in the locker room and he said he's fine," said defensive end and team co-captain Justin Tuck, "But for him to come out of the football game, you know he's hurting. But hopefully it's nothing serious where it's going to cost him offseason workouts or anything like that, but he's a tough guy. He'll bounce back."
It certainly didn't hurt the defensive effort that the game was played in a rainstorm. Both sides had trouble hanging onto the ball, but while the Giants were fortunate enough to only lose one of their four fumbles, Washington turned the ball over twice on three fumbles.
"I think there were periods in this game where you look at the clock and you look at it like it's not too much longer," said Tuck. "But I appreciate how the fans came out with as crappy as it was today to cheer us on and for the guys to stay here till the end even when they figured the game was finished. That's what I will remember."
Week 17 could have marked Tuck's final game with Big Blue as he will become a free agent this summer.
" I think I would love to retire as a Giant," noted Tuck. "Everyone knows how great this place is and how great it is to play for this organization, these fans, this city, this region. That's the ideal, but again, I understand that football is a business and just like the Giants are going to approach this whole situation and do what's best for the team, I've got to do the same thing for myself. I have no doubt that we'll sit down and take our time and hopefully make something happen."
New York's victory over Washington, as ugly as it was aesthetically, was one of seven wins for the team in its last 10 games. The Giants have looked like a team worthy of playoff contention at times in 2013, but a dreadful 0-6 start turned out to be too much to overcome.
"But I think what you saw the last 10 games is what this team is about," said Tuck. "The resiliency, the leadership and the never-quit, never-die attitude even supposedly when we didn't have much to play for."
The 7-3 finish gives the Giants some momentum headed into an offseason in which changes will need to be made in order to turn the team back into a contender. It doesn't seem like one of those changes will be at the head coach position, though.