Hartnett: Giving Eli Manning The Credit He Deserves

Eli's Philly Performance Proof He's Back To His Best

By Sean Hartnett
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On paper everything was going against Eli Manning as he walked out onto Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.  Having to contend with All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and minus of his one of his top targets in Mario Manningham, conventional wisdom suggested that it would be a rough day at the office for Eli.

Instead, Manning torched the Eagles’ heralded secondary that includes Asomugha and fellow yearly All-Pro selection Asante Samuel.  Have a look at the stat lines of the duo and you’ll see that neither managed an interception or pass deflected on Sunday.  Actually, Asomugha didn’t even register a single tackle against the Giants.

Does Philly still view their Eagles as a ‘Dream Team?’  All you need to do is take a quick glance at some of the Philadelphia daily papers and Eagles blogs to see how quickly a city and fanbase is souring on Asomugha.

Kevin Callahan of The Cherry Hill Courier-Post described Asomugha’s pitiful performance on Sunday:  “It was a pair of misses by Asomugha in Sunday’s crushing 29-16 loss to the Giants at Lincoln Financial Field that has him quickly becoming the face of a failed defense.  Asomugha missed on a sideline tackle in the first quarter, then failed to knock down a floating pass in the four quarter.  Both went for touchdowns — touchdowns he could’ve prevented.”

That’s one way of viewing it but another is simply that Manning had a terrific Week 3 against top opposition in a difficult away atmosphere.  His sparkling completion percentage of 69.6% with 4 touchdowns and zero interceptions are as good as one could possibly get against the Eagles at ‘The Linc.’  Matt Ryan didn’t even perform as well against the Eagles a week earlier at the Georgia Dome and I don’t expect Tom Brady to match Manning’s statistics when he visits Philly in Week 12.

It’s time that Manning is given credit for what he actually is – a top 10 NFL quarterback.  No longer should he be the whipping boy of New York back pages, radio hosts and fans when things go wrong.  Last season, his record of 25 interceptions was the product of his receivers’ gaffes.  Once Manningham returns, Eli will have two talented targets in Manningham and the superb Hakeem Nicks.

Another emerging star could be Victor Cruz who enjoyed a big day in Philly as he scored his first two career touchdowns and logged 74 receiving yards.  The Paterson, New Jersey native is a bit of a rough diamond as his early NFL career was hampered by injury and he played in the less-publicized NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision for the UMass Minutemen.  Even before yesterday’s breakout performance, Cruz was considered a raw talent with a great deal of potential.

With up-and-coming group of receivers around him, Manning could have a resurgent year of high touchdown totals and decreased interceptions.  In 2010, Manning threw 11 more interceptions than the 14 he registered in 2009 but his completion percentages were almost identical.

A quarterback can only go as far as the talent around him and Manning’s current targets can help him get back to a level near All-Pro.  Sunday provided ample evidence that Eli is on his way back to reclaiming the confidence of Giants fans and becoming feared once again around the NFL.

Giants fans – is Manning setting a course for a potential career year?  What do you make of the progress of Cruz?  Share your opinions below and send your tweets to @HartyLFC.

Comments

One Comment

  1. HOWARD DONIGIAN says:

    THE ANNOUNCERS IN THAT GAME SUNDAY WERE SAYING HOW ELI”S CONFIDENCE WAS SUSPECT, I GUESS THEY FOUND OUT THEY WERE FULL OF IT. HE NEVER COMPLAINS ABOUT LATE HITS GRABBING HIS FACE MASK HE GOES AHEAD AND BOUNCES UP AND PLAYS THE GAME. i AM VERY HAPPY YOU WROTE THIS ARTICLE AND GAVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE. I WOULD LIKE TO ADD ONE MORE THING OUR DEFENSE PLAYED HARD AND TOOK IT TO THE EAGLES AND THEY KNOW IT.

  2. Ken says:

    Looks like he got the credit he deserved for Sunday’s performance!

    http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/giants/2011/09/eli-named-nfc-offensive-player-of-the-week

  3. chris says:

    excellent article! Eli is a great QB playing in giants stadium he has back to back 4000 yard seasons a feat not so easy considreing the stadium. And his poise is incredible espescially in the 4th Q. Please keep writing these positive stories this kid deserves it! Heck he brought the Giants their 3rd Super Bowl and before hes done he might bring another.

  4. hartylfc says:

    Thanks for all your comments. Appreciated. (Sean Hartnett)

  5. Bob says:

    Anyone critical of Eli Manning is really only commenting on their own lack of football knowledge. He WILL find a way to win if there is merely adequate talent around him.

  6. Tony says:

    Great article. I have been getting sick of all the Eli Bashing going on. The man has a long track record.

    I think a lot of the criticism is from people who just don’t know the game. It is a lot easier for sports radio and guys on ESPN to criticize the QB when things go bad rather then give actual analysis about the teams strengths and weaknesses.

  7. Donny Romero says:

    Actually, Victor Cruz logged 110 yards receiving on Sunday, not 74. Great article!!

  8. Manning fan says:

    Thank you! Great article. For a few years, previously unheralded receivers in NY have become All Pro receivers which get (well deserved) kudos while Manning receives criticism.

    But did the Giants’ scouts out-think everyone else on all of our star receivers? Or do we fail to credit the one common denominator? Eli Manning. The NY receivers all talk about how much extra time Manning spends with them. I am not taking credit away from the receivers, but I get tired of the Manning bashing.

    Finally, have you ever noticed Manning’s success rate in the no huddle? Should we reconsider our “run first” mentality and allow Manning to get into a rhythm as other great QB’s are allowed to do?? Just a thought.

  9. true blue says:

    Finally! Thanks for this article. Getting SO tired of the Eli-bashing from the NY media. Nice to read something different. You really couldn’t ask a QB to give you a better game than Eli did yesterday, in PHI, no less.

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