Giants Underwhelm in Season Finale

Big Blue ends with ugly 44-7 loss to Vikings

Sunday, Jan 3, 2010  |  Updated 5:05 PM EDT
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"Underwhelming" is an understatement for describing the Giants' performance in the final game of the 2009 season.

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It was a nasty end to what has been a nasty last few months of the season for Eli Manning and the Giants.

Manning struggled in the game, but the offense didn't spend a whole lot of time on the field. He completed only 17 of 23 passes for 141 yards and threw an interception that led to more points for the Vikings and also lost a fumble. With big Brandon Jacobs out of the Giants running game, Ahmad Bradshaw got the nod, but carried only for 13 yards against a staunch Vikings defense that, having lost the last two games en route to the playoffs, felt they had something to prove.

And they certainly proved something. The Giants proved something, too -- that their second half of the season slump wasn't an accident and they have significant work to do before they get on the field next year.

Eliminated from playoff contention last week with an embarrassing 41-9 home loss to Carolina, the Giants missed the postseason for the first time in five years.

Meanwhile, Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings did everything right that went wrong in December, aggressively pursuing the swagger they had before the slump -- just in time for the playoffs.

Favre passed for 316 yards and four touchdowns without a turnover in less than three quarters, lifting the Vikings to a 44-7 victory over the barely-there New York Giants on Sunday.

Controlling the game from the very first drive against a Giants team sitting five players who started at least four games this season, the Vikings (12-4) cruised into the locker room to start watching the Philadelphia-Dallas game with an eye on their seed for the NFC playoffs.

They needed an Eagles loss to finish second behind sputtering New Orleans and get a first-round bye, and throughout the second half the crowd broke into "Let's go Cowboys!'' chants.

The Vikings had themselves to blame for this uncertainty, thanks to those ugly defeats in three nationally televised night games last month that ruined their chance to catch the Saints for pre-Super Bowl home-field advantage and exposed a few troubling flaws.
    
Favre and coach Brad Childress appeared determined to regain this team's confidence, with the Vikings attempting 35 passes and running only 22 times during the first three quarters.

They even kept the offense on the field for fourth-and-goal at the 1 on Favre's final possession, which he capped by throwing a touchdown pass to fullback Naufahu Tahi to make it 44-0.

Sidney Rice caught six passes for 112 yards and two scores, and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe had seven receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown, all in the first half. Adrian Peterson scored his 18th touchdown and carried nine times for 54 yards.

With the Giants (8-8) gaining only 73 yards in the first three quarters and letting the Vikings sail up and down the field as they pleased, Tarvaris Jackson relieved Favre for the final few possessions.

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