The Giants came within inches of losing to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night, and they certainly would have dropped the game if not for the efforts of quarterback Eli Manning. The veteran completed a franchise-record 41 passes on 54 attempts for 441 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception to lead New York to an improbable 30-27 victory.
Manning was rewarded not only with the team’s win, but also with NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. It is the third time that Manning has won the award. The previous two instances came with the Giants playing on the road in Philadelphia, a city they’ll be revisiting this week for a Monday night clash with the Eagles.
Philadelphia has struggled to find consistency on offense this season despite the addition of All-Pro tailback DeMarco Murray to head coach Chip Kelly’s up-tempo attack. New York was swept by the Eagles last year, but could find success in 2015 if Manning keeps up his outstanding play.
“I think the entire offense, all of the players have a better understanding and a better feel for this offense than we did last year,” he said. “We’re protecting the football, we’re not turning the ball over much, we’re staying in good down and distance, we’re getting much more positive yards, we’re not taking sacks, and we’re not having runs for negative yards.”
We’re not even a third of the way through the campaign, but Manning already has 1,417 passing yards and 10 touchdowns. Even more importantly, he’s only thrown two interceptions and is on pace for a career low in that category.
Even with both starting wide receivers sidelined at the end of Sunday’s game, Manning drove the Giants down the field for the winning touchdown during the final two minutes of play. The quarterback has made a living on fourth-quarter performances, but this latest comeback was one of his most impressive ever. Still, the Giants would rather continue to play from ahead in order to minimize Manning’s mistakes.
“We’ve been in good situations in games,” said Manning, “I think our offensive line has done a good job protecting so you don’t have a lot of throws where I’m getting hit or trying to throw it before the play has time to develop, and we’ve been in good position to play smart.”