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Chargers 37, Giants 14: Postseason Chances Finally Come To An End For Giants After Road Loss In San Diego, Handing Out Game Falls, Game Balls

Eli Manning and the Giants were eliminated Sunday. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
The New York Giants finally ran out of chances to stay in the postseason race Sunday night, losing to the Chargers in San Diego which eliminated them from playoff contention. Even though the Giants made it interesting by winning five of their previous six games before this week, the 0-6 start to the season was a killer and something the team couldn't overcome.

The Giants remained in the postseason race until Week 14, however, so that is something to be happy about if you root for Big Blue. The team could have gone in the tank after going six weeks without a victory, but the Giants fought back into the race and if they could have defeated the Cowboys at home a couple weeks ago, things could have been completely different.

But the facts are the facts and the Giants will miss the postseason for the fourth time in five years. The Giants will finish without a winning record. The Giants have three more games to prove they can be better than they were against the Chargers, a 37-14 blowout loss. The loss was reminiscent of the team's play in September, when they got themselves into an 0-6 hole they couldn't climb out of.

The good from this season was the team never gave up, even when everyone around them said their season was over after starting with six straight losses. The bad was Sunday's loss to the Chargers, where the Giants reverted back to their terrible play at the start. How they finish the season will go a long way in determining who is here next year and who's gone.

But before we look to the offseason, let's look at who's to blame for the loss in San Diego as we hand out Game Falls. We'll give out some Game Balls too, but we start with the bad, of course.

Game Falls
Eli Manning: It's far removed from the 2004 NFL draft, where Manning refused to play in San Diego and forced his way into a trade to the New York Giants, but it had to feel good for Chargers fans to watch him struggle so badly in a huge loss. Manning and Giants fans could care less, but this could have been a moment to rise to the occasion and answer all the boos from the San Diego crowd with a big-time performance. Manning, instead, was terrible, throwing his and 19th and 20th interceptions of the season, the most in the NFL. Philip Rivers, the quarterback he was traded for, threw three touchdown passes in the game. This was yet another poor performance in a season full of them for Manning.

Andre Brown: He should have been able to carve up the San Diego defense, which is in the bottom half of the league in rush defense, but managed just 81 quiet yards on 18 carries. His second quarter fumble with under three minutes to go was turned into a Chargers' touchdown and a 24-0 lead.

Defensive Front: The Giants front seven couldn't stop the Chargers from running the ball all over them. That would be one thing if the Chargers were a great running team, but they are ranked 21st in the league. Ryan Mathews had 103 yards and a touchdown. Danny Woodhead added 42 rushing yards. Mathews and Woodhead both had success in the passing game as well, totaling seven catches for 84 yards. The Giants defensive front couldn't stop the Chargers running back tandem and the result was a blowout loss.

Rueben Randle: Eight of Manning's 20 interceptions on the season have come when targeting Randle in the passing game, including one Sunday against San Diego. Considering Randle has just 37 receptions this season, that is a huge number. Randle should have a bigger role on offense next season, so he and Manning need to get on the same page going forward.

Game Balls
Justin Tuck: He followed his four sack game against the Redskins last week with two more quarterback takedowns Sunday against the Chargers. Tuck now has 8.5 sacks on the season and could have played his way back to the Giants next season. Before his two-game stretch he was as good as gone.

Hakeem Nicks: He finally had a breakout game, catching five passes for 135 yards, a 27 yard per catch average. He made several big plays, including a 51-yard reception. He also caught a Hail Mary pass from Manning at the end of the first half. The only problem was it came at the three yard line. Nicks still doesn't have a touchdown this season, but he had a great game in defeat. He'll still be elsewhere next season.

Antrele Rolle: He had a game-high 10 tackles for the Giants, a continuation of what has been a solid season for the veteran safety. Rolle is a team leader on defense, but with a $9.25 million salary next season, he may be a goner. He'll have to take a pay cut for sure to be back with the Giants.

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