Aside from Eli’s two touchdowns against Atlanta, one of which came as a result of a defensive pass interference call that thrust the Giants deep into its red zone, Manning did not throw a single touchdown in Dallas, shocking considering the state of the Cowboys’ secondary and their yet-to-be-proven ability to get to the quarterback with the losses of Greg Hardy (serving a four-game suspension) and Randy Gregory (lost to a high-ankle sprain, an injury he suffered early on in the Giants game).
Up 20-10 in the third quarter against Atlanta, the Giants were threatening after a long 35-yard run by Andre Williams. Inside the Atlanta nine yard line, Eli rolled left, not aware of Kroy Biermann pursuing to his right, and was sacked and stripped, resulting in a drive-killing fumble recovery. The Giants would not reach the red zone the rest of the way, and the defense would allow fourteen unanswered points.
Because of such miscues, the Giants became the first team in NFL history to head into the fourth quarter with a double-digit lead and lose their first two games to start a season. Much of this can be attributed to Manning’s puzzling inability to close games, hardly a problem for him in years’ past (see his 26 fourth-quarter comebacks and Super Bowl resume).
Clearly, Manning does not line up for Big Blue defensively, but his lack of awareness on Sunday cost the Giants a likely touchdown and a 17-point lead, assuming Josh Brown would have nailed the extra point afterwards.
This fault would be easier to atone for had Manning not been stripped (resulting in another fumble) several series later. Luckily for Eli, the stray ball skittered forward and was later recovered by Larry Donnell, resulting in a first down. Hypothetically, however, a second mental lapse nearly resulted in another giveaway and a dead drive. Not what you want out of your newly-minted $84 million quarterback.