The New York Giants came into their Week 16 game against the Minnesota Vikings seeking a win and a possible playoff berth.
A high-scoring game was expected with the over/under hovering around 48 at kickoff. That number was eclipsed but not until the final seconds when Minnesota kicker Greg Joseph nailed a 61-yard field goal — a franchise record.
The final: Vikings 27, Giants 24. The playoffs will have to wait for Big Blue.
Here are some winners, losers, and in-betweens from the loss.
Saquon Barkley: The Pro Bowl running back started slowly but ended up with a nice line: 14 rushes for 84 yards and a touchdown with eight receptions for 49 more yards. It was Barkley’s second straight solid game, which is a good sign as the Giants vie for a postseason berth.
Isaiah Hodgins: What a story this young man has been since being claimed off of waivers midseason. Hodgins caught eight of 11 targets for 89 yards and a touchdown. With all of the uncertainty surrounding the receiver room this year, he has been a pleasant surprise.
Graham Gano: Yes, Gano is still on the Giants. He hasn’t been used as much this season but he reminded everyone that he is still one of the best placekickers in the business. He racked up 10 points — two 44-yard field goals, a 55-yarder and a PAT.
Others: Landon Collins, Dexter Lawrence, Darius Slayton, Julian Love
Playoff hopes: The Giants got what they needed from the other teams in the playoff race as Detroit and Seattle both lost. A Giants victory would have clinched a wild-card berth. Now, they’ll have to go another week, hope to win, and have those teams (or Washington) lose again.
Andrew Thomas, Evan Neal: Both tackles had a rough afternoon, especially rookie right tackle Evan Neal. Daniel Jones was hit 11 times with three going for sacks. The Vikings’ ends — Za’Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter appeared to be too quick for the Giants.
Penalties: The Giants were flagged seven times for 63 yards, many of them costly. One penalty, on cornerback Fabian Moreau, negated an interception. The Giants have been plagued by penalties all year. they came into the game averaging 6.3 penalties per game, 9th highest in the league.
Butterfingers: Dropped passes, mishandled interceptions and fumbles marred this game for the Giants, who — had they played cleaner — could have won this game with ease.
Others: Nick Gates, Jaylon Smith, Micah McFadden
Daniel Jones: There’s no doubt Jones is the future of the Giants at quarterback. He had his best statistical game of the year (30/42, 334 yards and a touchdown, 34 yards rushing) but he threw a painful pick in Minnesota territory that killed a drive. He also fumbled and was fortunate to have Evan Neal fall on it.
Richie James: James had some killer drops in the second half that just hurt the Giants’ chances to seal this game. He did have eight catches for 90 yards but his two drops were on balls that should have been caught.
Daniel Bellinger: The rookie tight end’s lost fumble after a 16-yard gain on the Minnesota 23 in the second quarter killed a productive Giants’ drive with the score 7-0. The miscue led to a Minnesota field goal to extend the score to 10-0.
Special teams: Gano and punter Jamie Gillan both had strong games, but the blocked punt in the fourth quarter led to the Vikings’ go-ahead touchdown.
Others: Darnay Holmes