A first quarter pass that sailed just beyond the fingertips of Hakeem Nicks in the end zone summarized the night for Eli Manning. A missed opportunity here, an overthrown pass there, and Manning found himself in an all too familiar spot – trialing after the first quarter.
New York trailed 10-7 before slowing working the Vikings into submission for the 23-7 victory. While Manning rarely looked sharp, he did manage to stay turnover free thanks to a more controlled approach. According to ESPN, Manning’s average pass traveled a season-low 6.6 yards downfield, a far cry from the 10.7 he was averaging coming into Monday night. Newly acquired Peyton Hillis provided the safety blanket underneath, bailing his quarterback out numerous times with five catches for 45 yards.
Manning’s 200 yards and a touchdown won’t blow you away in the box score, but it was an important step for the offense as a whole. While he and Nicks can’t seem to find the same page (2 completions on 10 targets), Manning was able to put together some lengthy drives by involving Hillis, John Conner, Rueben Randle, and Victor Cruz. Their opening drive lasted 9:36 – the longest of the season in the NFL.
If Manning can work the middle of the field, utilize his weapons out of the backfield, and not be forced into desperation shots down the field, he’ll continue to post better numbers than the ones we’ve seen this season.
Kyle McMorrow | Featured Columnist