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Giants Q&A: Victor Cruz content if it was his last home game

Victor Cruz of the New York Giants acknowledges

Victor Cruz of the New York Giants acknowledges the fans after a victory against the Detroit Lions at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016 in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Was this Victor Cruz’s final home game with the Giants?

Possibly. The 30-year-old receiver is owed a lot of money over the next two years of his existing contract and certainly has not been a focal point of the offense in a long time. He had one catch on Sunday against the Lions, the seventh consecutive game in which he has been held to one or zero grabs (he missed one of those games with an ankle injury). And the Giants do not have any more games scheduled for MetLife Stadium this season. So Cruz said he took longer leaving the field than he usually does to soak it all in, maybe for the last time.

“I took a little slow walk off instead of just running off,” he said. “I looked around. I took it all in.”

Cruz said he’s not focused on next year yet, but he was reflective after the game.

“I’m happy with the things that I’ve laid out in front of the fans here at Giants Stadium over my seven years,” he said. “I laid my life out on the lines on that field, between those lines. If this is the last one at home for me, I’m happy with what I put out there.”

Was there one last salsa?

Sort of. Cruz recovered a fumble by running back Shane Vereen in the end zone in the second quarter for what appeared to be a touchdown, but the play was negated because of a penalty against right tackle Bobby Hart at the line of scrimmage.

“The energy was weird,” Cruz said of the momentary touchdown. “I was like: ‘Is something off?’ I was going to run off and then Odell [Beckham Jr.] runs up to me and is like, ‘Do [the salsa] again!’ I was like, ‘All right, if you want me to.’ ”

Did Eli Manning bounce back?

After a few shaky weeks, Manning certainly seemed intent on being part of the solution instead of part of the problem. He completed his first 11 passes (although one of them was a drop by Odell Beckham Jr. that was ruled a catch), the furthest he’s gone in a game without an incompletion in his career. Twice before he had started 10-for-10.

He finished 20-for-28 for 201 yards and two touchdowns, but more important, he had no interceptions.

“I thought Eli was very good today,” Ben McAdoo said. “He took the completions. You can’t go broke taking a profit.”

How did Justin Pugh do in his first game back since a knee injury?

He seemed to have a positive impact, especially in the running game, which had 114 yards on 32 carries. “I felt really good,” Pugh said. “I was smiling like a little kid. I couldn’t sleep [Saturday] night. First time I struggled.”

Will a Beckham punt return for a touchdown ever count?

Maybe one day, but he’s had two this season that have been called back because of penalties. The one against the Lions was a thrilling, meandering one in which he cut back twice and brought it 63 yards to the end zone. An illegal-block penalty on Eric Pinkens negated it.

Beckham also had a punt return for a touchdown negated in Cleveland.

Leon Hall was responsible for a second takeaway in two weeks. Wasn’t he benched earlier this season?

Yes. The cornerback was a healthy scratch for four games coming off the bye week, but with a lack of depth at safety because of injuries, he’s come back onto the field and back into the rotation. Hall — who had an interception last week against the Cowboys and forced a key red-zone fumble against the Lions — said he feels no sense of vindication, though.

“I’m not trying to prove that I should have been active [in those games],” he said. “I’m just trying to make the plays that come my way and help this team and help this defense get to that next level.”

How did the Giants’ offense do with regard to McAdoo’s Rule of 53?

Came up one short. McAdoo’s metric states that if a team has at least 53 rushing carries plus completions in a game, it has a much better chance of winning. The Giants had 32 rushes and 20 completions for a score of 52 on the scale.


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