Outside the Box: Eli Manning
It was an ugly performance by the New York Giants’ offense Monday Night against the Detroit Lions as they put up 14 points in a losing effort. As is usually the case, much of the blame is being placed on the quarterback, so the finger-pointing has started with QB Eli Manning as the expected culprit for the offensive woes.
While he certainly didn’t look comfortable during the preseason (-9.7 overall), and Monday night’s game isn’t one he’s likely to fire up to show the grandkids someday, his performance wasn’t as bad as his 4.9 yards per attempt and 53.0 passer rating would indicate.
Remember, passer rating is more of an indicator of how the passing offense performed as a whole, not just the passer. It doesn’t take into account plays negated by penalty, quarterback rushing, drops, good plays by receivers, and a whole lot more. At PFF, we’re evaluating the quarterback on each decision and each throw, and for Manning, the stats were slightly deceiving on Monday night.
To start, he had multiple dropped passes that would have moved the chains, and in total he “lost” 40 yards due to drops, third-most among all quarterbacks in Week 1. There were also two decently thrown passes down the field that resulted in defensive pass interference penalties, neither of which will show up in the stat sheet. Each throw is being evaluated for what it is, not the result it gained.
Now that’s not to say it was all good for Manning, there were plenty of questionable plays, particularly his two interceptions. The first one was a miscommunication for which Manning has already taken the blame as he threw to tight end Larry Donnell who continued to run the seam.
While the throw was a bit of a panic move, it still took a great play by linebacker DeAndre Levy and a freak bounce to turn an otherwise harmless incompletion into a turnover. The second interception was worse, though Manning didn’t get much help up front as he had pressure in his face in 1.8 seconds on a deep, 7-step drop. Still, he panicked again and lofted an ill-advised pass toward Victor Cruz that was intercepted by Glover Quin.
When you add it up, there were enough good plays that got glossed over on the stat sheet to make Manning’s night look worse than it was. Factoring in a few drops and pass interference penalties could make it look more like a 23-for-35 for 240 yard night, which is certainly better than the 18-for-33 for 163 yards.
Looking around the league, this wasn’t a banner week for quarterbacks, particularly on a play for play basis. Only five QBs graded in the green, so an otherwise average outing by Manning places him closer to the top that he’d normally be. Again, it wasn’t Manning’s best, but the real story is that the Giants had issues catching the ball and protecting him when it counted, so put the Giants’ offensive woes on the entire unit, not just the quarterback.
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