Eli Manning kept his mistakes to a minimum.
Manning’s final line–20-for-36 for 193 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions–was hardly remarkable (his QBR by night’s end was 38.63, a mere two points better than his rating over the course of his abysmal 2013 campaign), although his numbers would have improved had Preston Parker, favored by the organization over James Jones (who quickly scored two touchdowns in his reunion with Aaron Rodgers on Sunday against Chicago) for his ability on special teams, managed to grab a few more receptions (his three drops on Sunday proved crucial in many ways). His 55% completion rate is unsightly, but much of that can be attributed to far too many drops by his receivers. He also did not lose a fumble, which has been an issue for Eli over the years, more so in times when he is playing behind a makeshift line.
With eight “blemish-free” games in 2014, Eli begins 2015 with a step in the right direction, although his last touchdown and interception-free game came in a 27-0 October defeat to the Eagles last season (which further saw the loss of Victor Cruz to a torn patella tendon), a feat he hopes not to replicate too often this season given his signing of a contract extension.
As an added bonus, Manning had the wherewithal to provide a key block on the left to free Shane Vereen, who would scamper for a first down, and threw a money pass to Odell Beckham, Jr. on third-and-long on the Giants’ final drive that ought to have sealed the victory, threading two defenders in the process. Despite his otherwise average performance, a throw such as that, which Eli needs to make more consistently and abundantly, indicates how worthy he can be of his freshly inked extension.
While Eli has exhibited mental toughness quite frequently in his time with Big Blue, he showed mental lapses on Sunday night, most notably in his third down playcalling on his team’s final drive and his reportedly telling Rashad Jennings NOT to score a touchdown on said push near the end zone. He cannot afford these hiccups, especially with Atlanta’s ability to fluster Sam Bradford on Monday Night Football.