Giants Win Doesn’t Matter, Miss Playoffs
By TOM CANAVAN
AP Sports Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ Justin Tuck called it a funny year. He and his New York Giants teammates weren’t laughing.
There will be no repeat championship for the Giants, not even a playoff berth. A 9-7 season wasn’t good enough this time around.
New York’s playoff hopes ended Sunday minutes after a 42-7 win over the Philadelphia Eagles when Chicago beat Detroit 26-24.
“It happens that way,” Tuck said after the Giants rebounded from two bad losses in what might have been Andy Reid’s final game as Eagles coach. “I’ve been 10-6 and not made the playoffs. You’ve got to win the ones you’re supposed to. That’s why the division games mean so much. If we’d won the division games, we’d still be in the driver’s seat.”
Instead, they are headed home early.
“We are certainly disappointed we are not in the playoffs,” coach Tom Coughlin said after New York missed the postseason for the third time in four years. “Our goal was certainly to be there. Our goal was to win the division. We didn’t do that, either. We won nine games and there is no way anyone can talk us out of that. We do have the nine wins, but it’s not good enough.”
A year ago it was. The Giants won their last two games in 2011 to get into the playoffs, and finished the season with six straight wins in earning their second NFL title in five seasons.
This marks the seventh straight season the Super Bowl champion has failed to win a playoff game the following year.
A little more than an hour after Reid finished his worst season with the Eagles (4-12), three people familiar with the decision told The Associated Press that his 14-year tenure as Philadelphia’s coach was over.
Reid was scheduled to meet with owner Jeffrey Lurie on Monday to discuss his future and an official announcement will come afterward, according to one person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because a final agreement hadn’t been reached. That person said there’s a chance Reid might remain with the team in some capacity.
Reid is due to make $6 million in 2013 in the final year of his contract. He said he wants to coach next year, but it’s possible Lurie could persuade him to take a season off and perhaps help out in the front office in an “advisory” role.
Eagles spokesman Derek Boyko denied several reports that Lurie had already fired Reid, saying they were “absolutely, 100 percent” untrue.
“I’ve been doing it a long time. I have respect for Jeff Lurie. I go in eyes wide open,” Reid said. “Either way, I understand. Whatever he chooses will be the right thing. He always does things for the best interests of the Eagles.”
Eli Manning did his part to keep the Giants in the chase with a career-best five touchdown passes. Fans who stuck around were chanting “Let’s Go Lions” as the final moments ticked off in the Chicago-Detroit game.
“It hurts,” said Manning, who finished 13 of 21 for 208 yards and no interceptions. “Each year you want to make the playoffs to give yourself an opportunity to win a championship; 9-7 last year was good enough. It wasn’t good enough this year and we knew it wouldn’t be.”
After going 6-2, they lost five of eight, including two games by a combined 67-14 to playoff-bound Atlanta and Baltimore.
“The first thing is you don’t ever rely on anybody else in this business,” Coughlin said. “You’ve got to take care of your own business. We certainly had our chances. That will be the No. 1 thing I’ll talk to the team about.”
Manning woke up the offense with touchdown passes of 3 and 38 yards to rookie Rueben Randle, a 15-yarder to David Wilson and a 24-yarder to Victor Cruz just before halftime for a 35-7 lead. He became the first Giant to throw five TD passes in a game since Phil Simms in 1980. Manning’s fifth score was a 1-yard pass to fullback Henry Hynoski in the fourth quarter.
Ahmad Bradshaw, who rushed for 107 yards and passed the 1,000-yard mark for the second time in his career, also scored on a 1-yard run.
Starting for the first time since a concussion against Dallas in early November, Michael Vick threw a 7-yard touchdown to Jeremy Maclin for Philadelphia. Vick finished 19 of 35 for 197 yards and one interception before being replaced by Trent Edwards.
The Eagles had hoped to send Reid out on a positive note, but they played poorly.
“We came, we stunk it up and we lost,” defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said. “It was terrible. No heart.”
Vick, replacing injured rookie Nick Foles, was also reluctant to discuss his future, but he felt for Reid, who gave him a second chance after he got out of prison.
“He’s a great man and I love him to death,” Vick said. “I wish I could’ve done more. A lot of players wish they could’ve done more. Coaches can’t play the games.”
The Eagles surprised the Giants on a cold and windy day with an onside kick to open the game. However, turnovers have hurt the Eagles all season, and it happened again when Stevie Brown came up with his eighth interception.
Manning needed four plays to score, finding Randle over the middle for the second touchdown of his rookie season. His third came on the following series when New York went 74 yards in five plays.
The third touchdown was another pass to a rookie, with Wilson catching a 15-yarder, then doing his usual back flip to celebrate.
NOTES: About 400 residents of Newtown, Conn., attended the game. Among them were a few families who lost children in the massacre this month, the Giants said. One was the family of Jack Pinto, the 6-year-old boy buried in a Cruz jersey. … Bradshaw finished with 1,015 yards rushing. … Manning fell 52 yards shy of his fourth straight 4,000-yard passing season. … Brown’s 48-yard return gave him 307 yards in interception returns this season, extending his Giants’ single-season record. … Eagles safety Colt Anderson led the team with 10 tackles.