Eli Manning reflects on red zone struggles

After avoiding turnovers for much of the season, Eli Manning threw five interceptions on Sunday en route to a 16-10 loss against the San Francisco 49ers.

Too many times this season, we’ve seen the Giants let a game slip away despite solid play from quarterback Eli Manning. Before Sunday’s game against San Francisco, the veteran had thrown for 17 touchdowns and just six interceptions while completing over 60 percent of his passes. Still, the Giants were riding a losing streak because of poor play from the defense and running game.

On Sunday, the defense showed up and Rashad Jennings returned to give the running game a boost. For a change of pace, Manning played a big role in the 16-10 defeat to the 49ers. He tossed five interceptions and completed less than half of his passes in the loss.

“The defense was playing well, was stopping them, just giving up field goals,” said Manning, “We had opportunities to be in the lead and very much in the game. I thought our guys played hard, just obviously didn’t make the plays down the stretch that we needed to.”

Perhaps the most frustrating sequence in the game came late in the fourth quarter when the Giants had driven the ball to the San Francisco four-yard line thanks to an incredible catch by Odell Beckham Jr. Down by six, New York could have taken the lead with a touchdown, but three straight incompletions and an interception sealed the Giants’ fate.

Manning said that the 49ers’ defense dictated the play calls during that series.

“They weren’t giving us great looks to run the ball,” he said, “Maybe on first down we could have run the ball right there and possibly snuck in or got closer where on second and third down it gives you that run/pass option. They weren’t giving us great looks to run the ball. We needed to throw it. We had some good looks, they hit some plays and we just didn’t do it.”

Manning tried lobbing the ball to Beckham as well as Rueben Randle and Larry Donnell before his fourth down attempt was deflected by Dontae Johnson and intercepted by Chris Borland.

“You have four downs from the three-yard line, you expect to be able to score in that scenario, said the quarterback, “Disappointed, disappointed in myself. I could have thrown some better passes, some better balls. We could have made a play and gotten the lead right there.”

With the Giants all but eliminated from playoff contention, the team will have to focus on making better decisions down the stretch to get some more wins on the board.

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