So much for Giants quarterback Eli Manning still having it after he threw for 297 yards and two touchdowns in the Giants’ 27-22 victory over the Houston Texans last week.
He reverted back to his old ways in the New Orleans Saints’ 33-18 rout of the Giants on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. He had nothing when he threw from the pocket to start the game, so he settled with short passes in the second half. He once again was skittish while being fixated on one receiver for most of the game. He did not show any swagger as a playmaker.
We wanted to believe Manning still had so much left after last week by thinking a good performance out of the offensive line could get him going. Looking back, we were in denial. We were hoping for the best. Manning’s bobos can even say they were deceived.
At some point, we have to come to the conclusion that Manning is finished as an NFL quarterback. He is not even serviceable anymore. This is more than a sample size to come up with this theory. It’s been like this for the last few seasons, and nothing is changing no matter how hard the Giants try to put their quarterback in a position to succeed whether it’s revamping the offensive line or hiring a offensive-mind head coach.
Sure, he can provide a rare good game last week against the Texans, but he can’t do this consistently anymore. There was a reason former Giants coach Ben McAdoo and former Giants general manager Jerry Reese wanted a change at quarterback, even though it was dumb to replace him with the inept Geno Smith that resulted to the both of them being fired in the middle of last season.
Blaming the offensive line for Manning’s struggles has become a lazy narrative. It isn’t great, but it wasn’t bad against the Saints. The Giants quarterback had enough time to throw, and he didn’t get it done. His throws were way off, and for some reason, he did not seem to focus on Odell Beckham Jr. to throw to. At times, he resorted to throwing short passes, even when he had time to throw.
The offensive line around the NFL is not great. In fact, it has become a lost art for most teams that would rather focus on drafting the next Beckham or the next great quarterback. Despite all that, quarterbacks find a way to be effective by being resourceful such as running for first down or improvising by running until he found his receiver. Manning can’t even do both anymore. He is such a stationary quarterback where he stands around and hope he can find a receiver before he gets a hit.
Last week wasn’t changing everything. This is who the Giants quarterback is at 37 years old. He is closer to retirement than his counterpart Drew Brees, who showed he can play until he is 45 years old by throwing deep and still being effective by taking his team in Giants’ territory.
Even Eli Manning’s supporters have to admit their quarterback has lost his fastball. He is not a guy the Giants can trust to run a two-minute offense, and he apparently can’t make his wide receivers any better because he can’t throw anymore. It was few and far between when he took the Giants in Saints’ territory.
It’s also startling that he can’t even throw to Beckham, who has to be frustrated that he is not being the dynamic player as a result of ineffective play of his quarterback. The Giants wide receiver finished his day with seven receptions on 11 targets for 60 yards.
The Giants haven’t scored 30 points since 2015 when they scored 30 points against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17 that year. It isn’t a coincidence that it’s a correlation to Manning being on the decline.
The Giants quarterback is not making a case to be the quarterback next season. He is fortunate he won the Giants two Super Bowl championships by playing well in the postseason, so he has been able to hold on to his job as long as he could. But there comes a time the Giants have to realize it’s time for a change. It should have happened after last season.
The Giants were delusional to believe he was the right guy to help them win the Super Bowl now, so they decided not to draft a quarterback. Even if Baker Mayfield was not taken by the Browns or Jets in this year’s NFL draft, Big Blue would never draft him because of their faith and commitment to Manning.
Not drafting a quarterback to prepare the post-Manning era was stupid then, and it’s stupid now. There’s no guarantee next year’s quarterback class will be as good as Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Mayfield. The time was right after last season to draft a quarterback and have him take his lumps on the field than waste this season with their veteran quarterback.
We have been watching Manning doing a poor man’s impersonation of Joe Namath’s final season with the Los Angeles Rams for years now.
It’s sad to watch him end his Giants tenure and his NFL tenure that way.
No one should remember Manning like this in the twilight of his career.