Outside the Box: Eli Manning

Steve Palazzolo looks deeper into the Week 1 performance of Eli Manning.

| 3 years ago

Outside the Box: Eli Manning

OTB-2014-EliIt 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.


Follow Steve on Twitter: @PFF_Steve


| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • shsh

    i was hoping for a little more analysis steve… like your work otherwise

  • Antani

    Yeah, I can surely see how Eli Manning is graded better than Foles.


    • mrboo

      Did u see Foles in the first half? he was bad and his INT horrible… nearly killed the team. His long TD to Maclin was as easy as it gets. Second TD not that hard either. Foles posts great stats but i think its the System that makes him go. Chip Kelly really knows his stuff

      • Antani

        “Second TD not that hard either.”

        Now I know you didn’t see that TD.

        And ofc, if Foles plays good it’s the system, if he doesn’t he sucks.

        While poor Manning, he’s consistently sucking for the last couple years, but by all means let’s find excuses for him.

        • lPrep2

          Give me a break! You are ridiculous.

          • Antani

            “You are ridiculous.” Ad hominem. Your argument is invalid.

    • lPrep2

      And I can surely see how you didn’t see the Giants game.

  • lPrep2

    This article has really disappointed a whole lot of haters. Well done in that regard.

  • KenFl1

    Sometimes you get some insightful commentary from people who aren’t as emotionally invested in the game as us fans. My wife sits down next to me and after a few series, turns to me and says, “It looks like Eli is fighting against his own team rather than the Lions.” That’s as straightforward as it gets.

  • Chris

    While I still disagree slightly on his overall grade, I appreciate the effort to be more transparent in these instances. A big step in the right direction for PFF.