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Giants win despite Manning injury

By 69 News & Associated Press, (follow: @69news), news@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 30 2013 09:46:16 AM CST

AP

New York Giants wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan (12) runs for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in East Rutherford, N.J.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -

Eli Manning, the New York Giants' iron man, finally crumbled.

The durable quarterback who started his 151st straight game was knocked out with a high ankle sprain in his left foot late in the first half of a 20-6 victory over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin and the fans who sat through a steady downpour were stunned to see the durable Manning limp off the field.

"I don't want to see it again," Coughlin said. Manning has the league's longest string of consecutive starts for a quarterback.

There was a silver lining to the rainy day: the injury was a sprain and nothing more serious.

"A guy kind of bent me back, and I kind of got my foot stuck underneath him," said Manning, who finished 10 of 24 for 152 yards, a touchdown and a career-high 27th interception. "I knew it was hurt at the time. I was hoping it wasn't worse and was very happy to hear it was just a sprain."

With rest and therapy, Manning should be ready for next season, which is now months away with the Giants (7-9) out of the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.

Jerrel Jernigan caught a 24-yard touchdown pass and ran 49 yards for another score to lead the Giants to a seventh win in their final 10 games.

"I was proud of the way they stayed together as a team," Coughlin said. "We had good leadership. Our captains did a nice job and they can't do it alone. The attitude and the approach that this team took regardless of some of the very difficult Mondays that we had was very impressive, from the standpoint of maturity and professionalism."

Coughlin refused to address questions about his future.

"Don't ask me that," Coughlin said. "I'm not answering that type of question right now. There'll be an evaluation of everything, and we'll go from there."

Justin Tuck, the star defensive end who might have played his final game as a Giant, voiced support for the 67-year-old Coughlin, who has led New York to two Super Bowl titles.

"I'd be very surprised, shocked," Tuck said when asked about a possible coaching change. "I haven't seen him change one bit in how he had his team prepared and how he prepares."

There might be changes with the Redskins, who finished 3-13 after winning the NFC East last season.

Mike Shanahan has not only seen the Redskins stumble but his future is uncertain because of his shaky relationship with oft-injured franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Shanahan will meet with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder on Monday.

"This situation isn't something I've experienced before," Shanahan said. "Like I said, hopefully, I will get to talk to you guys."

The game was the final one at MetLife Stadium until the Super Bowl on Feb. 2. This one was about as ugly as it gets, and the constant rain and a raft of injuries didn't help.

In addition to Manning, the Giants lost receivers Rueben Randle (knee), Hakeem Nicks (ankle) and offensive tackle Will Beatty (broken leg) in the regular-season finale, while the Redskins saw cornerback Josh Wilson (calf) and defensive end Jarvis Jenkins (head) leave the game.

Before leaving at the end of the first half, Manning combined with Jernigan on a 30-yard catch and run that set up the touchdown pass two plays later for a 7-3 lead.

Jernigan got his other touchdown on the final play of the third quarter on an end-around after taking a handoff from Curtis Painter, who played the second half with Manning out.

"These last three weeks I have been having good playing time, but I have confidence every week," said Jernigan, who has taken over for the injured Victor Cruz.

"It's just a matter of time before I get out there and start showcasing my abilities," he added.

Josh Brown had field goals of 34 yards in the second quarter and 38 in the fourth. The way the Giants' defense was playing, that's all New York needed.

Washington got field goals of 31 and 49 yards from Kai Forbath, both after Giants turnovers.

The Redskins finished with 251 total yards after converting on 5 of 20 third-down attempts. Kirk Cousins, who started a third straight game since RGIII was shut down, was 19 of 49 for 169 yards with two interceptions.