The season finale Sunday at MetLife Stadium is a chance for redemption for the New York Giants, embarrassed by the Philadelphia in Week 6, 27-0. No Giant exemplifies the need, and desire, for said redemption more than second-year offensive tackle Justin Pugh.
The 2013 first-round pick had his worst game of the season against the Eagles, surrendering four sacks and earning a Pro Football Focus grade of -5.3, the second-lowest single-game grade of his career. Pugh had a -5.9 vs. the Carolina Panthers in Week 3 of his rookie year.
To make matters worse, the Holland, Pa. native was playing in front of family and friends that night at Lincoln Financial Field.
"I am looking forward to the game; I am looking forward to getting out there and getting that second chance at them," Pugh said. "I am going to prepare like I have the last three weeks since I have been back from my injury and get ready to go out there and win a game."
That game began a rough stretch for Pugh in which he had negative PFF grades in five straight games. He left the fifth game against the San Francisco 49ers after only eight snaps due to a quad injury. He missed the next two games while recovering. Since returning to action in Week 14, Pugh has had three consecutive solid games. He has, in fact, not allowed a sack since that nightmare game against the Eagles.
"I look at it as a learning process. If you don't learn and grow from the way this season went, then it was a waste all around," Pugh said. "I think, me personally, learning how to be a better player and where I can find and make changes in my game, and my routine, and my schedule. I think it is definitely something that has helped me and helped me grow as a player. I am looking forward to going out there Sunday, playing a good game and ending the season on a high note."