Enough is enough now, Eli. Every game that comes around, you find yourself thinking it will be the turnaround game for the quarterback, because surely a two-time Super Bowl MVP cannot possibly get any worse, right?
Yet every week, Eli Manning comes up with something even more astonishing to trump his previous failings. It’s gotten to the point where it is now way beyond a joke for Tom Coughlin and especially the New York Giants’ paying public.
Heading into Thursday’s contest with the Chicago Bears, Manning led the league with 12 interceptions. With more picks than he has touchdown passes thus far, Eli turned the ball over on each of his opening two possessions. The Giants’ awful third-down conversion rate has been well documented this year, so on the first third down of the game, Manning threw an interception.
Luckily for the Giants, Brandon Marshall dropped a straightforward catch on fourth down and they were off the hook for now.
After taking over near their own end zone, Eli looked astute on his next third down, finding Rueben Randle wide open for a 20-yard gain. Yet on the very next play, Manning gave up his second interception of the game as the unforgiving Tim Jennings took it all the way back for a score.
It’s good to see the New York footballing Giants continuing another unwanted trend of having allowed the most points following a turnover so far in 2013.
Following this and for almost the remainder of the game, the good Eli showed up. Standing behind a much more resilient offensive line, Manning began to pick his passes with the accuracy that we all know he possesses. Manning had seemingly made amends, orchestrating an 80-yard scoring drive with the Giants becoming the final team in the NFL to complete such a drive of 10-plus plays this season.
Following that second interception in successive drives, Manning had completed seven passes in a row the last of which found Randle on the right flank who fought his way into the end-zone after the initial catch for a 37-yard touchdown completion to tie the game once more. As a side note Randle finished the day as the Giants’ leading receiver and may have a huge part to play from here on in as his connection with Manning has blossomed in recent weeks.
At one point in the game the home side had registered the last 17 first downs as Eli returned to his sluggish ways. Cue another reversal in fortunes as Manning orchestrated a 91-yard drive topped off by a second touchdown run from Jacobs. Manning showed the ability to utilize all of his receivers to great effect connecting with Randle and Victor Cruz on pinpoint 20-plus yard completions. The quarterback crossed 200 passing yards for the night with a 31-yard completion to Nicks, most poignantly on third down of which the Giants’ conversion rate was wholly improved on Thursday night.
The roller-coaster journey had one final twist. Ironically the only people Manning didn’t disappoint on the evening were those who expected him to do just that. Deep in the fourth quarter and within a touchdown of regaining the lead, the tie and the quarterback came full circle as Eli coughed up his third interception of the night which was warmly received by Tim Jennings. Everything that happened in between interception two and three was now null and void, such is the cutthroat nature of the NFL.
Eight of Manning’s 15 interceptions this season have come in the fourth quarter of games. He is the personification of inconsistency and a multiple personality at quarterback. Manning’s genius in the position is just what the Giants need to dig them out of this hole, yet he is the one holding the shovel.
The good, the bad and the Eli — the saga rumbles on.