SAN DIEGO -- The easy joke is that you can forgive New York Giants' wide receiver Hakeem Nicks for not knowing he wasn't in the end zone, since he hasn't been there all season. Nicks went up to catch Eli Manning's Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half of Sunday's 37-14 loss to the Chargers. He outfought defenders for it and came down with the ball at the six-yard line. Then he got up and started acting as though he'd scored a touchdown, because he believed he had.
"I thought I was in the end zone until I got up and everybody was just looking at me," Nicks said. "I was thinking, 'Why isn't anyone celebrating?'"
Nicks did nothing wrong on the play. He went for the ball and got it. Had he actually been in the end zone, he would not have been able to catch it. But as it stands, he is still without a touchdown catch in this, the final season of his contract with the Giants.
He didn't have a bad game, though. He caught a 51-yard pass early in the game that he thought would help the offense get going. He had a 28-yarder in the second half, and ended up with 135 yards on five catches. He and tight end Brandon Myers each were targeted seven times to lead the team. And the two Nicks didn't catch, while they weren't uncatchable, were balls Manning threw behind him on short routes across the middle.
"Each week I strap it up and I'm ready to go," Nicks said. "I had a lot more opportunities today and I wanted to take advantage of it."
It's hard to imagine the Giants re-signing Nicks, especially since he'll likely be looking for the biggest contract he can get. But a strong final month would help him in that pursuit, whether it's the Giants who sign him or some other team.