The headline in this mornings New York Post says it best – “Mann Handled.” The headline mocks the performance of the Giants on Monday night and more specifically Eli Manning, as the Giants continue to go backwords with a 26-10 loss to the Jaguars in Jacksonville. Manning, a quarterback that I have felt is never going to be half the QB his brother is, was just bad on Monday night. His numbers – 19 of 41 for 230 yards, one TD and two interceptions, only begin to pinpoint not only the problems that he is having, but the problems that the entire Giants offense is having.
Manning, as the article points out, resembled a deer in headlights on Monday night, and his passes not only were mostly off target, but he also was pressured from the start. The New York running game was terrible as well, being held to a season low 25 yards, and Tiki Barber, who is starting to show some signs of wear already this season, was held to 27 yards on 10 carries. “A pretty pitiful performance all the way around,” Barber said. “It’s unacceptable. We couldn’t run the ball . . . we didn’t even attempt to run the ball. Pretty despicable. I’m concerned about how we played. It’s very anti-New York Giants football. Don’t run the ball, don’t play with any urgency.”
New York managed just 73 total yards in the first half, and were held to just under 9 minutes of possession. “It’s a combination of a lot of things. We’re not playing good football,” Manning said. “There are plays there to be made; we got to make ’em.” Not making plays has been the knock on Manning his whole career to date. The post game speech of head coach Tom Coughlin, which actually became a post game tirade, maybe should have been directed at Manning to start picking it up in this his third season. “We’ve played 10 games!” Coughlin bellowed, loud enough to be heard through a locked steel door separating the postgame interview area from the locker room. “There’s six to go! SIX! Whatever needs to be done, whatever adjustments need to be made, we’re going to do them before we get back to the practice field. And then it’s full-speed ahead!”
With panic setting in for the Giants, it seems that as bad as Eli Manning played on Monday night, Cowboys QB Tony Romo played just that good. With the two teams tied now for the division lead with a showdown at the Meadowlands looming in two weeks, it looks as if the Giants are going to have to do some soul searching in order to not avoid a major collapse. With Manning, he knows that a lot of the blame does fall on him. “I’ve just got to start playing better football,” Manning admitted Monday night. If not, the Giants will almost certainly be watching the playoffs from home.