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Steve Weatherford says injury didn't cause bad punt

Arizona Cardinals Ted Ginn (19) breaks a tackle

Arizona Cardinals Ted Ginn (19) breaks a tackle by the Giants' Steve Weatherford (5) on his way to a touchdown during the second half of a game Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: AP / Bill Kostroun

Should Steve Weatherford have been playing Sunday, six days after suffering a high ankle sprain?

You can bet that question crossed the mind of many Giants fans, and perhaps some of the Giants' coaches, after Arizona's Ted Ginn Jr. returned Weatherford's low punt 71 yards for the go-ahead touchdown in the Giants' 25-14 loss.

Although there was plenty of blame to go around -- Zack Bowman and Zak DeOssie had shots at Ginn but couldn't bring him down -- the play probably would not have happened if Weatherford had been playing at 100 percent.

"You can't punt the ball down the middle of the field for short distances," Tom Coughlin said. "The ball is going to come right back at you, and it did today."

Weatherford injured his left (non-kicking) ankle in Monday night's loss at Detroit and had been listed as questionable for the game. By Friday, he was feeling OK, and the team's doctors had given him the go-ahead to play. Coughlin said, however, that as the game wore on, it was clear that something was bothering his punter.

"We were very confident. We listened to doctors and we listened to Steve," he said. "After a couple of punts, it looked like he had some issues."

Weatherford wouldn't blame the bad punt on his injury.

"No, I wouldn't say that," he said. "If I tell the coaches I am healthy and ready to play the game, I expect myself to play at a high level and they expect me to play at a high level. That particular punt was not my best."

Ginn has had big success at MetLife Stadium before. In 2009, he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in Miami's win over the Jets. "It seems like in this city, in this state, good things happen for me," he said.

Bowman, who had an early hit on Ginn but did not bring him down, said Weatherford's punt was not to blame.

"I have no one else to blame but myself," he said. "I went there and took a shot at him. I hit him real hard. I was trying to wrap him up, but I just wasn't able to wrap him up. Everybody has their lanes and stuff they need to fill and we weren't able to do it. But at the end of the day, it starts with me."

DeOssie, the Giants' special- teams captain, said there's plenty of blame to go around.

"We didn't tackle," he said. "I could have done a better job of forcing him back to the sideline. I don't care what Steve hits, we need to cover. Our coverage was fantastic leading up to it . . . We have to get in the film room and get it fixed."

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