With the clock winding down to zeroes at the end of the first half, Eli Manning heaved a Hail Mary pass from midfield into a cluster of players down the left side of the field.
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View Gameday Photo Gallery Hakeem Nicks elevated above the rest of the crowd and came down with the ball, hoping to cut into the 24-point Chargers lead. Coming up from the scrum, Nicks started to put both arms up to signal his would-be first touchdown of the season, but upon further review, it sunk in that the 43-yard completion came six yards short of the goal line.
"Actually I thought I ended up in the end zone until I looked down and saw I was only at like the five," Nicks said after the game. "It's just me trying to go and make a play. I had no doubt in my mind I was going to come down with it once I sized the ball up."
Such has been the season for the wide receiver, the offense, and the entire Giants team. They all came up short in a year that won't go further than Week 17.
The Giants were eliminated from postseason contention with their 37-14 road loss to the Chargers on Sunday afternoon.
"It's reality," said Nicks, whose team dropped to 5-8 on the season. "So we've got to face that. We dug ourselves in this hole this year. We've got to face it. We've got three games left, but we can control how hard we play in those games and that's all we can control at this point."
While Nicks has three more weeks against Seattle, Detroit (away), and Washington to find the end zone, he posted his third 100-yard game of the season in San Diego.
Including a 51-yard reception on the second drive of the game – his longest play since a 57-yarder in the first game of the season – Nicks led all receivers with 135 yards on five catches, bringing his season total up to 49 receptions for 789 yards.
But even if Nicks finishes with a zero in the touchdown column, that won't be the toughest pill to swallow. It will be not playing after the New Year.
"It's always when you're sitting down watching the playoffs," he said. "And wanting to be there, wanting to play."