By Ray Monell
We won’t see Victor Cruz and the New York Giants in this year’s NFL postseason, but at least the salsa-dancing receiver proved his breakout performance in 2011-12 was no fluke.
This past season, Cruz, named an NFC 2013 Pro Bowl selection last month, logged a team-high 86 receptions—including his career-high 10 touchdowns—and 1,092 receiving yards. He was able to put together a solid follow-up to his production last year (82 receptions, 1,536 receiving yards, 9 TDs), doing so despite teams game-planning for him and having to carry more of the load while fellow Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks struggled with foot injuries all season long.
The Giants, for the second time in as many years, finished the regular season with a 9-7 record. While that mark was good enough to win them the NFC East title over a month prior to their Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots last year, this time around it made them one game worse than the Washington Redskins (10-6), who won the division after defeating the Dallas Cowboys (8-8) in Week 17.
But the good news for Cruz, 26, is that he has established himself as a force in the NFL. Undrafted in 2010, the third-year wideout is now considered a part of a playoff-tested core of players Giants fans hope can lead the team back to Super Bowl glory.