At times this season, Eli has looked flat-out overwhelmed. How so? Take your pick.
- Manning reportedly told Rashad Jennings NOT to score a touchdown against Dallas in the closing moments of a 27-26 loss, despite what that potential score (managed inside the one-yard line, no less) could have done to put the Giants up 30-20 (after the PAT), as opposed to settling for a field goal and a 26-20 lead that was quickly snatched away within mere moments.
- In the closing minutes of the Dallas loss, Eli was not aware of how many timeouts the Cowboys had as they were in the process of using them.
- Several times, the Giants, under Eli’s tutelage, did not let the play clock run down on their final series, giving Tony Romo more time than was needed to send the game-winning touchdown into the waiting hands of Jason Witten with seven seconds remaining.
- On the infamous third-down play that lead to Brown’s aforementioned field goal, Eli rolled right on a pass play, saw nobody open, and opted to throw the ball away, stopping the clock at 1:37. While a field goal put the Giants up six, forcing the Cowboys to score a touchdown and not a field goal to send the game to overtime, a sack AND a field goal would have given the Giants the same lead and Dallas forty less seconds to operate, as they were already out of time outs.
- Several more times against Atlanta, perhaps jittery from the clock mismanagement that torpedoed his team the week before, Eli let the clock simply run out or down to a second or two left, resulting in a delay of game penalty on one occasion and a broken series of plays on another few attempts to extend a drive.
Should Manning will his team to victory on Thursday night, Eli will again be without Victor Cruz, still ailing from a calf injury, and may miss left tackle Ereck Flowers, who has held his own these last two games despite an ankle injury that ultimately forced him out of the Atlanta matchup. While the short week gives him less time to fret over his uneven performance on Sunday, Eli consequently has had less time to gameplan for the Redskins, who, on Sunday, utterly thrashed the St. Louis Rams, who themselves thwarted the Seattle Seahawks only a week earlier.
The pressure is most certainly on for Manning to deliver not only on his contract, but also perform as his team’s best player against Washington in what is now a must-win for Big Blue.