Jake Ballard sat out for the second straight game on Sunday night. However, the Giants went on to clinch the NFC East title with a win over Dallas and extended the tight end's deadline for at least another week.
"I knew if we didn't make the playoffs, I would be out this year," Ballard said outside the team locker room after the victory. "Luckily the team played great and I have an opportunity to put on a jersey again this year."
Ballard, who was third on the team in both receptions and yards before being injured against Washington, said he is "still going to need to see things this week" regarding his return. In the meantime, he can thank, among others, Bear Pascoe and Henry Hynoski for the additional time to make a return.
Pascoe made his fourth start at tight against the Cowboys. It was his 11th overall, starting the other seven at fullback. That's where the rookie Hynoski took over on Sunday night for the first time since starting in Week Four.
Together, they made Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman their own hurdling dummy.
Midway through the first quarter, Pascoe caught his second pass of the night from Eli Manning and leapt over Newman for a 12-yard gain, converting a third-and-nine that led to Victor Cruz's 74-yard touchdown three plays later.
"I remember watching Bear last year jump over people," Ballard said of his roommate. "Me and Kevin Boss would joke and call him 'Air Bear.' Now he's done it a couple times this year. I love seeing him make big plays like that and finishing it off by running somebody over."
A little more than a quarter later, Hynoski made the same move over Newman and again for 12 yards. It was Hynoski's third catch in an eight-play, 80-yard scoring drive that was capped off by Ahmad Bradshaw's 10-yard touchdown run with 1:09 to go in the first half to go ahead 21-0.
"I think he got off the ground a little higher," said Hynoski, comparing his play to Pascoe's.
"I like to think mine was [better] because I didn't get trucked after," Pascoe insisted. "I hit the ground and kept going. He hit the ground and got taken out."
With Ballard out and Manningham and Hakeem Nicks battling their own injuries, it took a total effort from the entire receiving corps on Sunday night.
Manning completed 24 of 33 passes to eight different receivers for 346 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions.
"That's Eli," said Pascoe, who had two catches for 14 yards. "That's what he does. He's so great about moving the ball around and seeing those open guys. There were a couple times he had to move around the pocket a little bit. He was able to find Victor Cruz and Hakeem and those guys. There were times we needed a big play. He's very good at it."
"It was a just a total team effort," said Hynoski, finishing with four catches for 31 yards. "Everyone dug down. You could tell every single player out there wanted it. It starts with the offensive line, and everybody kind of thrives off of them. And when you have a quarterback like Eli leading us, he's just the type of guy you want to dig down deep for, too."
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