by Michael J Basile, @MdoubleJB
Monday Morning Manning – Week 16
Eli Manning played well…but the Giants fell to 5-10 with their second straight loss on Sunday in Indy. The Colts rallied late, and the GMen defense allowed 21 second-half points.
Eli pulled his weight for the most part. He finished 25-33 for 309 yards to go along with a TD and an INT. His arm strength still gets it done with great conditions like playing in a dome. Some of the poor throws tend to come in the elements like last week at home against the Titans. He looked confident throughout the game and was putting the football in the air with conviction. At times this year when under pressure Manning would look a bit lost, but not against the Colts.
THE GOOD: Eli was incredible on third downs and the offense converted 7 out of 12 opportunities. He made big plays down the field. Manning continues to miss Odell Beckham but connected regularly with Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram who had 6 catches each. Manning’s first-half bomb to Shepard for 55 yards was beautiful. He shuffled his feet, avoided the oncoming pressure and threw a perfect strike. The ball hit Shepard’s hands in stride 45 yards down the field.
THE BAD: One of the differences in the game was that on two NY Giants drives they had to settle for a field goal. Andrew Luck led the Colts offense to 4 touchdowns, Eli simply couldn’t keep pace. This is definitely nitpicking on Eli especially with the way the Giants defense got torched for 400+ yards and let up the game-winning drive with less than a minute to go.
THE UGLY: This is easy – the interception. People will kill Eli for it. With 31 seconds left and big weapon kicker Aldrick Rosas waiting to kick the game-winner, Manning forced a ball into triple coverage. He only needed another 25 yards or so. He was sharp all day, but forcing the ball to Bennie Fowler of all people was a bad decision.
THE GRADE: B It’s difficult to completely blame Eli for a loss when he had 300+ yards and was slinging it around Lucas Oil Stadium all afternoon. Could he have gotten them in field goal range with 55 seconds left on the clock?
Yes, but Big Blue should’ve never been in that position. The defense continues to give up leads and when you’re a bad team, you find ways to lose. The performance from start to finish was quite strong for Manning. There’s one more game left in 2018, and after a poor first half of the season let’s see if Eli can cap off what has been a strong second half.