It wasn't so much the sight of Victor Cruz on the ground that shook up the Giants. It was the sound. It was the shrieks of pain that the team's offensive captain could not contain that really hammered home the despair of the situation Sunday night.
"That's extremely tough," safety Antrel Rolle said. "He's just down there screaming. That's your brother down there on the floor."
Said defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, "That was heart-wrenching."
Cruz couldn't grab Eli Manning's pass on the fourth-down play, which was bad enough. But that he grabbed his knee after the incompletion in the end zone and could not get up meant the pain of one night's blowout loss to the Eagles will linger for much longer with the Giants.
Cruz was carted off in tears with a torn patellar tendon in his right knee in the third quarter of a 27-0 loss at Lincoln Financial Field. He was slowly driven past the Giants' sideline in an eerie funereal procession, teammates reaching out to tap him as he slowly rolled past toward the locker room and season-ending surgery.
Asked if Cruz was able to say anything, fellow receiver Rueben Randle said, "At that point in time, I don't think he could."
And the Giants didn't have much to say back. Coach Tom Coughlin was one of the crowd that gathered around the clearly hobbled Cruz. "It wasn't a good situation, a good scene," he said afterward.
Cruz spent the night in a Philadelphia hospital. He is expected to return to the New York area Monday.
The injury occurred with 9:35 remaining in the third. A few minutes earlier, Nick Foles had thrown his second interception of the game, picked off by Zack Bowman, and the Giants had a potential touchdown pass to Larry Donnell negated by a holding penalty against Will Beatty. They recovered to face fourth-and-goal at the 3. Coughlin decided not to kick a field goal and Manning lofted a pass to Cruz in the back right corner of the end zone. Cruz's knee appeared to buckle as he prepared to leap for the pass, which went through his hands. Before he hit the turf, he was clutching the injured limb.
A group of Giants and Eagles players soon gathered around, a sign of solidarity after a week of trash talk between the teams.
The Eagles then scored on a 97-yard drive against the shell-shocked Giants to go ahead 27-0. Darren Sproles, who later left with a knee injury, scored on a 15-yard run to cap the eight-play drive.
The injury news only compounded a frustrating game for the Giants, who woke up Sunday morning hoping to claim first place in the NFC East and went to bed stuck in third place with a 3-3 record, two games behind the Eagles and Cowboys (both 5-1).
Manning was sacked six times and Ryan Nassib twice as the offensive line, which had seen so much improvement in recent weeks, regressed to preseason form. The Giants' defense didn't fare much better, allowing LeSean McCoy to gain 149 yards on 22 carries. And although Foles threw two interceptions, he was accurate otherwise, completing 21 of 34 passes for 248 yards. He pinpointed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz in the first quarter that made it 10-0, then found a wide-open James Casey for a 26-yarder to go up 17-0 en route to a 20-0 halftime lead.
"It was just a horrible game on our part, there's no other way around it," Rolle said. "You can't sugarcoat it . . . In this league, you can't take days off. You can't take them off. We took today off. Everyone."
The Eagles started the game by pouncing on the Giants and never let up.
"The first couple of series, we definitely got punched in the mouth," cornerback Prince Amukamara said. "It was one of those situations where we started bleeding and we couldn't put a Band-Aid on it. We just kept bleeding."
Notes & quotes: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie left the game in the first half with back spasms and did not return . . . CB Trumaine McBride left the stadium with a heavy wrap on his right thumb. He had X-rays but did not say what the results were.