The New York Giants were massacred Sunday night in Minnesota. Putting the blame on Eli Manning, just isn’t right.
By Gregg Cambareri
It would’ve been nice of the New York Giants to have shown up on Sunday evening. Instead, they were whipped 49-17 by the now playoff bound Minnesota Vikings. While you can point fingers at multiple players, personnel groups, and coaches, the blame shouldn’t be on Eli Manning, despite his harsh stat line.
Manning completed just 15 of 29 passes for 234 yards, with 1 touchdown, and 3 picks, one of which was returned by Vikings safety Harrison Smith for a score. He was sacked 4 times, and under pressure all night long.
His overall numbers were abysmal, but the blame, shouldn’t be on number 10. Without stud wideout Odell Beckham Jr. (we know, he was suspended), Big Blue receivers struggled to get any separation, or hold on to the ball, even when Manning put it where it had to be.
I have recorded seven dropped passes for the Giants in this game, and I’m pretty sure I may have missed a couple.
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) December 28, 2015
When the inconsistent Rueben Randle becomes your number 1 target, it’s going to be a long night. Let’s also not forget Victor Cruz was supposed to play this year. That hasn’t exactly worked out, either. Combine that with a mediocre offensive line, a Viking’s pass defense ranking in the top 10, and the formula for a Big Blue disaster was in place. These aren’t excuses for Manning’s poor game last night; these are facts.
This one game should not be reflective of the Giants’s signal caller. Manning’s eclipsed 4,000 yards for the fifth time in his career, and still maintains an impressive 33:14 TD to INT ratio on the season.
This is still the same Manning who called the punt team off last week against Carolina, and spearheaded a 28 point comeback, only to see his defense falter on the game’s final drive. On Sunday night, he put the ball where it needed to be, only for his receivers to let him down. Yes, he made some bad throws that resulted in turnovers. However, he’s done more than his share this season, so placing the blame on his shoulders just wouldn’t be fair.
With little to work with and against a formidable opponent, Manning was ready to play. That is debatable for the rest of a Giants team that was recently eliminated from post season contention. There was little sense of pride and heart, especially considering this could be the end of the Tom Coughlin era.
Speaking of Coughlin, he spoke after the game about the importance of Sunday’s game, despite not having a post season to push for.
“We had an opportunity to play for pride and play for respect. Everyone was on the same page.” – Coach Coughlin
— New York Giants (@Giants) December 28, 2015
Beckham’s absence, injuries on both sides of the ball, and the feeling of no playoffs for a fourth straight year are sure to take their toll on a team, especially mentally.
However, this is the NFL. You have a legendary coach to play for. You have a job to do.
Eli has had his doubters since he first entered the league. Whenever a game (or a season, for that matter) goes south, it’s Manning who often comes under fire. The stat line, however, doesn’t always tell the story.
If you want to criticize Tom Coughlin, GM Jerry Reese, or the numerous late game meltdowns for an underwhelming season, fine. Just don’t go calling for a new quarterback any time soon.