Eli Manning on track for worst season ever

Eli Manning on track for worst season ever

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October 4, 2013, 12:00 pm
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Through just four games, Eli Manning has already thrown nine interceptions -- most in the NFL. (USA Today Images)

Since becoming the Giants’ full-time starting quarterback in 2005, Eli Manning has never had a losing record, has never thrown more interceptions than touchdowns, has never had a passer rating below 70, has never been sacked more than 30 times.
 
Manning is on pace for a lot of firsts.
 
Last week in Denver, the Eagles faced a Manning brother enjoying his best season ever. On Sunday in East Rutherford, they’ll face a Manning brother enduring his worst season ever.
 
Among 26 quarterbacks who’ve thrown 100 passes this year, Manning ranks 25th in completion percentage (56.3 percent, ahead of only Michael Vick), 24th with a 69.1 passer rating (ahead of Geno Smith and Christian Ponder) and first with nine interceptions, one more than the Jets’ Smith.
 
The last NFL QB with more interceptions after four games was the Vikings’ Daunte Culpepper, who had 10 in 2005. Since 1979, only four other quarterbacks had more interceptions four games into a season: Dan Fouts (11 in 1986), Steve Grogan (10 in 1988), Peyton Manning (11 in 1998) and Jake Plummer (12 in 1999).
 
Manning, a three-time Pro Bowl pick, a two-time Super Bowl winner, a Super Bowl MVP, has never been through anything like this.
 
“This is my job,” he said Wednesday. “It’s something I take very seriously and you work hard to try to go out there and have a good year and play well and get wins and obviously we haven’t produced any wins yet. Yeah. It’s difficult.”
 
Manning has played 151 NFL games, and this is the first time he’s thrown nine interceptions in any four-game stretch.
 
Overall, Manning is just 8-12 vs. the Eagles. His only career postseason losses since 2006 have come against the Eagles -- 23-20 at the Linc in 2006 and 23-11 at the Meadowlands in 2008.
 
But in his last seven games against Philly, he has 21 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
 
Eli’s 34 touchdowns are the most ever against the Eagles (Sonny Jurgensen had 33). He had four-TD games against the Eagles at the Meadowlands in 2010 and the Linc in 2011 and finished last year with a career-best five TD passes against the Eagles on the last day of last season, Andy Reid’s final game as head coach.
 
Boomer Esiason and Jurgensen are the only other quarterbacks with three career games with at least four TDs against the Eagles.
 
The Giants’ struggles are hardly all Manning’s fault. The Giants have no running game, their defense has been awful, his offensive line has not played well.

But Manning is statistically one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL so far.  Among the quarterbacks completing a higher percentage of their passes: Brian Hoyer, E.J. Manuel, Nick Foles and Geno Smith.
 
“You just kind of watch each play and try to see if you could have made a better decision or a better throw or what your options were,” Manning said.
 
“I feel like I’m doing some good things and there are always things you can improve on and get better. We’ve just got to find a way to be more consistent and just keep grinding.
 
“We’ve just got to get in good situations and make sure no matter what, we’re making smart decisions, trying to just find completions, get it into the flat or get it to the back. You’re just trying to find ways to get positive yardage.”
 
The Giants will try to avoid their first 0-5 start since 1987 and first in a season that didn’t include strike replacement games since 1979 on Sunday when they face the Eagles at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.
 
This is Eli’s second career four-game losing streak. Two years ago, the Giants were 6-2, lost four straight to fall to 6-6, barely got into the playoffs at 9-7, then beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

“You keep working and you have the faith that you can get out of it, but that comes from going out there and performing better,” Manning said.
 
“There’s nothing you can say. There’s not a quick fix to it. It’s just having a great game plan and the team playing better and doing their job better.
 
“You’ve got to stay strong, and I think a team that can deal with adversity and come out of it, and I know there are benefits to that, and if we can get out of it, I think it will make us a stronger team and better for it. But obviously we’ve got to break into that win section.
 
“We’re in this situation. We’ve got to figure out a way to play better. We need guys to step up. We’ve got to perform better and it’s as simple as that. We’ve got a big game versus Philly. It’s still early. We have 12 games left and we’re two games back in the division. There are worse spots to be, but obviously we need to figure out a way to play better football.
 
“It’s one thing to lose and it’s another thing when you’re not in the game in the fourth quarter, which has occurred the last three games.”
 
A loss to the Eagles Sunday would give the Giants their first five-game losing streak since 2004, when their quarterback was Kurt Warner.
 
“We’re a better team than what we’ve been playing like,” Manning said. “But we’ve got to go out there and prove it.”

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