January 09, 2017

Now, the New York Giants can all hit the sand and surf.

Any Vitamin D the receivers may have gotten from their much-maligned trip to Miami on their day off last week didn't help them hold onto Eli Manning's passes in Green Bay.

''There was nothing that could connect seven days ago to today and how we came out and played and executed,'' insisted Odell Beckham Jr., who dropped a couple of crucial passes , one in the end zone, in New York's mistake-filled 38-13 loss to the Packers on Sunday.

Rookie Sterling Shepard also had two drops, one for a likely touchdown. So, he, ODB and Victor Cruz will continue taking heat for their Florida foray whether or not it had anything to do with the Giants' meltdown that ended an unimpressive offensive season for the Giants.

The receivers had nothing to do with allowing Aaron Rodgers to complete a 42-yard Hail Mary to Randall Cobb for a game-turning touchdown at the end of the first half when seven Giants defenders were in the end zone but none jumped, and all of them let Cobb get behind them for the TD that gave Green Bay a 14-6 lead.

The laundry list of miscues extended to special teams, where returner Bobby Rainey inexplicably fielded a kickoff only for his momentum to carry him out of bounds at his 3.

These other miscues might have mattered less had Beckham and Shepard been able to hold onto catchable throws from Manning early on that would have made the Packers pay a price for their slow start.

Giants coach Ben McAdoo said they were simply missed chances that had nothing to do with the receivers' trip to Miami.

''That didn't have anything to do with the ballgame,'' he said. ''We've talked about it. It's over.''

New York's season is, too.

Wild-card weekend was full of curious calls such as the Dolphins somehow forgetting to account for James Harrison , who swept in untouched for a sack-strip that kept Miami from making a game of it in Pittsburgh.

Down 20-6, the Dolphins had first-and-goal at the Pittsburgh 8 with 27 seconds and two timeouts left before halftime. Miami lined up with an empty backfield, but left tackle Branden Albert blocked down to double-team defensive end Leterrius Walton. Albert didn't see Harrison zip past him and hammer Matt Moore, forcing the fumble that Stephon Tuitt smothered.

Ben Roethlisberger walked out of Heinz Field in a boot, however, after tweaking an ankle long after the game was in hand. And former Pro Bowl linebacker and current Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter was charged early Monday with assaulting a doorman at a bar and a police officer who intervened hours after the team's 30-12 win.

Among the missed calls from mixed officiating crews who were working together for the first time in the playoffs:

-Giants safety Leon Hall wasn't flagged for leading with the crown of his helmet on his brutal hit that knocked Packers receiver Jordy Nelson from the game with a rib injury . Hall should have been whistled for a hit on a defenseless player. Nelson, who led the league with 14 TD catches, had one reception for 13 yards before getting hurt.

-Seahawks QB Russell Wilson wasn't whistled for an obvious block in the back and Seattle wide receiver Paul Richardson got away with a facemask on his one-handed touchdown catch in his team's 26-6 win over Detroit.

Richardson's catch, by the way, came on fourth-and-2, the kind of call that had Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman in such a tizzy last month. He argued the only thing the Seahawks should do that close to the goal line is hand off like they should have done in the Super Bowl a couple of years back.

Both Detroit and Oakland, which lost to Houston 27-14 , were defeated on the road after blowing chances in Week 17 to earn a home playoff game, and in the Raiders' case, a first-round bye.

The Lions lost to Green Bay at home in their finale, so they hit the road, where they haven't won a playoff game since 1957 (their last playoff win in Detroit was back in 1993). They've now lost a league record nine consecutive postseason games and their road playoff skid stands at 11.

Oakland reached the playoffs for the first time since losing Super Bowl 37 to Tampa Bay on Jan. 26, 2003. But third-string QB Connor Cook completed 40 percent of his passes and threw three interceptions in his first career start, playing behind a line that lost a second starter and was overmatched by Jadeveon Clowney and the league's No. 2 pass defense.

The heads-up and do-it-all awards of the week both go to Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews, who knocked the ball from Eli Manning's hands for a sack-strip, then chased down the ball that several other players thought was simply an incompletion. Among them was Giants rookie running back Paul Perkins, who nonchalantly reached down to pick up the football and toss it back to the officials. Matthews rushed over to deliver another hard hit that again forced the ball out of the Giants' hands, recovering it himself this time.

Sack. Strip. Separate. Smother.

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