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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Although Tom Coughlin refused to shed any light on his job status after the New York Giants missed the playoffs for a third straight season, several players offered a resounding vote of support.
Quarterback Eli Manning, wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., and soon-to-be unrestricted free agent defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul certainly didn't want the management to change coaches after the Giants wrapped up a 6-10 season with a 34-26 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
And those are the Giants' top three players.
"I would hope not," said Manning. "But that's not my decision. Whatever happens, hopefully we'll come back and figure it out. But we've got a great coaching staff and they did a great job this year. As players, we've got to do a better job."
Manning finished with a 28-of-53 performance for 429 yards with a touchdown and an interception. One of those throws went to Beckham, the rookie who tied Michael Irvin's 1995 NFL mark with his ninth consecutive game of 90 or more yards receiving. He also tied Bill Paschal's 1943 franchise record for total touchdowns by a rookie with his 12th scoring reception, a 63-yard catch-and-run that drew the Giants to 31-26 with 11:47 remaining.
Beckham said he became progressively more comfortable in Ben McAdoo's West Coast-style offense after he returned from missing the first four games with a hamstring injury, and would be reluctant to see anything change next year.
"It's not my call," said Beckham, who had 12 catches for a career-best 185 yards. "I'll just roll with the punches. I love the coaching staff. I love everything we've done this year except losing a couple of games and not playing our best football. So if they do return, I'm definitely looking forward to next year.
"I see a lot of great things. You take Rueben (Randle), any of the tight ends, the running backs; I see a lot of great things for next year. I can definitely see us growing and getting the offense rolling. I'm just looking forward to next year with a smile on my face and praying for my brother Victor (Cruz) to get healthy. It'll be well worth the wait."
Pierre-Paul, whose two sacks on Mark Sanchez allowed him to finish with a team-high 13, said he wouldn't bet against a Coughlin return.
"I look at coach Coughlin as a dad," Pierre-Paul said. "He's a good coach. The way he runs things around here is very respectful. Guys respect that. You need somebody like that on the team, otherwise it would be chaos. I'm pretty sure he's going to be back next year."
Coughlin, meanwhile, said he will simply go about the usual business of personnel evaluation. Other than that, he said he would not address his employment status.
The Eagles (10-6) snapped a three-game losing streak and ended the Giants' three-game winning streak by getting two touchdown passes from former Jet Sanchez in his return to MetLife Stadium, and another special teams touchdown, the seventh of the season.
Backup tight end Trey Burton returned a blocked punt 27 yards for a score in the third quarter, and Nate Allen iced the game with a late interception.
The Eagles' 10 wins matched their total last season when they won the NFC East, and they had the division lead with four games to go this year after knocking off Dallas on Thanksgiving.
Sanchez was 23 of 36 for 292 yards, including touchdowns of 44 yards to rookie Jordan Matthews and 1 yard to tight end Brent Celek on the Eagles' first two possessions. Cody Parkey made two field goals and Chris Polk had a 1-yard TD run.
Allen then sealed the game with less than three minutes to play with his interception and return deep into Giants territory.
Rookie Andre Williams scored on a 1-yard run on New York's first possession, and Josh Brown kicked four field goals.
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