By Michael J. Basile, @MdoubleJB
Monday Morning Manning: Week 5
Monday Morning Manning is back for week five analysis. Last week against the Saints, Eli Manning gave an underwhelming performance that had many wondering if it was finally time for the New York Giants to move on from their quarterback.
Our founder, Craig Santucci touched on the frustration in his weekly rant and rave blog outlining how “check downs” have become the norm, and pushing the ball down the field seem foreign to Manning. I also outlined this last week in my Monday Morning Manning piece how Eli hasn’t made big plays to spark the offense.
This week, that changed.
The team scored 30 points for the first time since Tom Coughlin was the head coach and Eli was slinging it all over the field with authority. He was 22-36 for 326 yards with 2 TDs and 2 INTs, but more importantly, he stood in the pocket waiting for routes to develop while delivering the ball with confidence.
THE GOOD: When they were down 27-16, it looked like the game might end with a lopsided score. It was the middle of the 4th quarter, and last year’s Giants team would’ve left Carolina to head home at that point. Instead, Manning rallied the squad. First, they scored on a dime from Eli to Odell Beckham JR for 33 yards over the top in the end zone, followed by a 2 point conversion to Rhett Ellison. The very next possession, it was vintage Eli Manning. A clutch, go ahead touchdown 2-minute drive. He hit Russell Shepard in the middle on a perfect 40-yard pass, and then Barkley in the flat for the 15-yard score. The calm, in control look Manning had on the drive is what stands out most during the march down the field.
THE BAD: While Eli had the chemistry with Odell working, it seemed like he forced it to him on a few occasions. On the 14 targets, 2-3 of them had 2 defenders on Beckham and it seemed as if Eli had made up his mind before the ball was snapped. It would’ve been nice to see him go to Sterling Shepard or Rhett Ellison a bit more.
THE UGLY: Two interceptions thrown to Carolina Panthers safety Mike Adams on consecutive drives killed the Giants drives. It was a weird game that had many penalty calls and momentum changing type of plays, and Manning’s pics were two of them. Not to mention Eli/Shurmur was forced to call a timeout calling in the 1st quarter before the play clock ran out. This recurring mistake has plagued Eli Manning since 2004.
The Grade: B+. Haters and critics of Manning will point to the interceptions. The reality is that he completed 22/36 throws and Odell had a 4th and 3 drop, another one in the end zone, and Russell Shepard added one in also. Then on the second interception, the replay shows Sterling Shepard hesitating in his route, so we aren’t exactly sure if that one was Shepard or Eli.
Even if you want to kill Manning for those two plays, his intermediate slants to Odell were perfectly in stride and his deep balls were dropped on target. Eli left the field giving his team the lead, and he stuck in the end zone for the potential game-winning drive. If this version of Manning continues to show up, and Eli Manning continues to make great plays when his team needs him most this team could win seven games. Especially with the goal of scoring more than 30 points per game.
Big Blue nation needs that Eli Manning to show up on Thursday night at home against the Super Bowl Champs.