The unrelenting downpour of rain at MetLife Stadium Sunday was an appropriate backdrop for the gloomy fate the Giants met in being shut out 17-0 by the Tennessee Titans. It officially ended their slight possibility of making the playoffs.
Even the announcement Tuesday that rookie running back Saquon Barkley, fourth-year safety Landon Collins and second-year place kicker Aldrick Rosas, were selected to the NFL Pro Bowl, couldn’t minimize the collective disappointment of the Giants failing to make the playoffs for the sixth time in the past seven seasons.
For Collins, it was his third time being chosen for the Pro Bowl squad. However, he won’t participate in the game because surgery Dec. 12 to repair a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder sustained against the Chicago Bears Dec. 2. As the only Giant selection to last year’s game, he sat it out because of a fractured forearm.
Minutes after losing to the Titans, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur expressed the sentiments of many of the players and coaches regarding being eliminated from postseason contention. “It hurts,” said Shurmur, who at this time last year was the offensive coordinator for the eventual NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings.
He added, “Obviously you want to make the playoffs. We didn’t play well enough early in the year to put ourselves in a good position. I knew we still had a chance if we won out, but we didn’t play well enough today to do that.”
Left tackle Nate Solder held a more philosophical perspective. “Well, I don’t know how individuals handle it,” he said in the Giants’ locker room. “I know that me and my faith, I play for far more than temporary things. I play for eternal things, so if I have an opportunity, I’m going to give it everything I have, no matter what that is.”
Unfortunately for Solder and the rest of the 5-9 Giants, the unseen spiritual forces had other plans for them than playing beyond their last regular season game Dec. 30 at home against the Dallas Cowboys. So their focus is now on the 8-6 Indianapolis Colts and their MVP candidate, quarterback Andrew Luck, who they will meet this Sunday on the road.
The Colts will be playing with urgency as they are battling for a wild-card spot. The Giants can affect the playoff futures of both the Colts and the 8-6 Cowboys, who currently lead the NFC East division, with victories in their final two games.