Monday, October 12, 2015

Giants escape thanks to late Manning TD

49ERS 27

This is not one that they will mark in the pretty category. There was a lot that went wrong for the New York Giants on Sunday, but one thing that didn't go wrong was the play of quarterback Eli Manning and the final result.

The Giants won Sunday night at home against a 1-4 San Francisco 49ers team in spite of giving up 380 yards to the 49ers; in spite of allowing Colin Kaepernick to run around all over the field connecting with wide open receivers, and in spite of allowing San Francisco to score two fourth quarter touchdowns, including one that gave San Fran the lead with 1:45 to go.

In spite of it all, the Giants got the win, and now own first place in a hideously overhyped NFC East division. Look at the NFC East and see a Cowboys team that still won't see Dez Bryant and Tony Romo until sometime after Thanksgiving, a Philadelphia Eagles team that is self-destructing, and a Washington Redskins team that self-destructed many years ago.

 In other words, if the Giants play their cards right the next two weeks (@ Philadelphia and vs. Dallas) they could run and hide in this division. Emphasis on the word "could."

The Giants need a lot of things to happen before then. They need Eli Manning to continue to dominate for one. Manning was unbelievable on Sunday; he willed the Giants to a win completing 41 out of 54 passes for 441 yards and three touchdowns. He got everyone involved, and found a way to win with Odell Beckham Jr. limping around with a hamstring injury.

On the Giants last three possessions the Giants scored thanks to an on target Manning. Late in the third quarter, Manning was 6-for-6 on a 7-play 61-yard scoring driving, with connections to Rashard Jennings, Dwayne Harris and Beckham. Manning found Beckham on a 17-yard screen pass by which the receiver scored to give the Giants a 20-13 lead.

The fourth quarter was like the movie groundhog day, Manning would lead a Giants scoring drive, and New York's leaky defense gave it up on two long 49ers touchdown drives. With 1:45 to go San Francisco had the lead at 27-23.

Manning then orchestrated a dramatic late game rally. He took off for an 11-yard run on first down, then hit Shane Vereen on a 11-yard screen to spot the ball at the Giants 40. Vereen would come up huge again on screen passes of 16 and 24 yards to move the ball to the 49ers 20 yard line. In between Vereen's efforts, New York caught a break when Eli Manning's interception was ruled incomplete since the ball hit the turf first.

Finally, Manning found tight end Larry Donnell in the back of the end zone for a 12-yard strike, giving New York a 30-27 lead with 21 seconds to go. Manning was 4-of-6 for 71 yards on the final drive of the night. His 41 completions broke Phil Simms record of 40 completions in a single game.

While it was good to see the Giants offense come together and figure it out, the Giants defense has a lot of issues. They gave up 124 yards on the ground, didn't force a turnover and didn't get much of a pass rush going against Kaepernick. In a lot of ways, the Giants were extremely fortunate to come away with the win on Sunday night, because they certainly didn't play well to earn it.

While the Giants are in first place in the NFC East, they are in first place with a team that is on shaky ground. They need to play better defensively, and they can't rely on a tremendous fourth quarter rally by their quarterback week in and week out, if they are going to keep on winning in this lackluster division.

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