Despite a great effort by Eli Manning… Zero still equals Zero
by Steve Ekenstierna (stevie_oneduhh)
Welcome to this week’s Monday Morning Manning. Another brutal game that featured a missed field goal, clock mismanagement, terrible decisions on challenges, and ultimately a brutal loss. Despite all that, Eli Manning did have a good game, his second in a row.
Don’t worry Giants fans, I know you are upset and the last thing you want to do is rehash a game that has given you the Monday morning blues. So, I will keep this short and sweet. Eli was one of very few bright spots on the Giants team, as a whole. He was 29 for 38 completing 76.32% of his passes for 288 yards, 2 Touchdowns, and no interceptions.
He controlled the offense efficiently in a game that was tight. The Giants stuck to the up-tempo style they employed the previous week against the Philadelphia Eagles and it helped result in one of the best all-around games of his career from a statistical standpoint. The interesting part of that is, Manning should have had an even better day. His completion percentage should have been even higher had it not been for his receivers letting him down.
I don’t know what happened to the Brandon Marshall, but the Giants certainly had to be expecting more from him when they signed him. He dropped at least a handful of balls that hit him directly in the hands, or chest. Odell Beckham wasn’t much better in helping Eli out. Beckham and Marshall had some beautifully placed balls from Eli that would have extended drives but the ball found its way to the turf. Eli can’t do it all by himself, he simply needs the wide receivers to do their job. If they do their jobs, the Giants win this game running away.
The last and final part of Eli Manning’s one-man show was shockingly provided by his legs. Down 13-3 Eli dropped back and surveyed the pocket. As the rush began to get through and he couldn’t find an open receiver in the man coverage the Bucs were in, Eli rolled out and scampered 14 yards into the end-zone to cut the lead to 13-10. In doing so, Eli did what no other running back on the Giants has done all season…score a rushing touchdown, the longest rushing touchdown by a giants QB since Jeff Hostetler all the way back in 1992. It also broke a streak of 21 games without a rushing touchdown of over 10 yards for the Giants. Last one being a 38-yard score by Rashard Jennings in week 15 of 2015.
Eli Manning did his job, and more. Now his teammates need to come with the same focus and drive to win as Eli. The team started 2-0 last year and promptly lost 3 games in a row but played well enough the rest of the year to get themselves a playoff spot. The Chiefs and Dolphins dealt with similar early season problems and rebounded to make the playoffs. In no way am I saying this will be easy but it always starts with the QB. Eli is playing some of the best football of his career.
If the rest of the giants fall in line, although it’s a daunting task, this Giants team can turn it around. It won’t be easy by any means but the talent is there. Now the focus, intensity, and attention to detail from the rest of the team needs to match their quarterback.