As Eli Manning continues to put the Giants in position to win games (granted, we came up short against San Francisco, but hey, that's the way it goes sometimes), I continue to find interesting material to read regarding his play:
"Eli Manning had a solid game, brought the G-Men back, but the two INTs (after throwing just six in the first eight games) is a concern. Victor Cruz continues to become a go-to guy for Manning"
Those words were those of Brian Billick in Fox Sports' most recent update of its Power Rankings. How often do quarterbacks have two interception games and we don't even hear two words about it? Not to mention, one of those interceptions was on a broken route by one Mario Manningham. Some players get looked at through rose-colored glasses. Analysts seem to view Manning with shit covered goggles on. Let's look around the league:
Philip Rivers: 15 INT
Drew Brees: 11 INT
Tom Brady: 10 INT
Ben Roethlisberger: 9 INT
Philip Rivers has been having a bad year. If he were Manning, he would would simply suck. We hear about how Brees and Brady have been outstanding, and nothing else. Big Ben is solid, nothing to see there.
To put in in perspective, Eli Manning has had two multiple interception games this season. Tom Brady has had three. Drew Brees has had four. Good job, coach. Anyhow, I digress. How is Eli Manning doing since we last checked up on him?
He's on pace for to throw for 4,779 yards, 30 touchdowns, 14 interceptions. His YPA has dropped slightly, to 8.4 yards per attempt, but his completion percentage is still at a career high (63.1%).
Around the league, Manning ranks:
Yards: 6th (2,688)
Completion Percentage: 8th
Yards per attempt: 4th (less than .10 behind both Matt Schaub and Tom Brady)
Touchdowns: 5th (with 17)
Interceptions: Many ties in this category, but still, fourteen quarterbacks in the league have thrown more interceptions than Manning, including names mentioned above.
As far as level of competition goes, the Giants play arguably the toughest schedule in the league. If Eli Manning keeps up his level of play, at times single-handedly keeping the Giants relevant, then he should receive serious consideration in the MVP race.
Yes, I understand Rodgers is having a ridiculous year. I'm not trying to take anything away from the guy, but I think such a poll should take into account the stat-padding throws that he adds, as Green Bay seems to always work out of the shotgun even with a three score lead. Again, Rodgers is the front-runner, sure, but the MVP running should take those things into account. He has five comeback victories this season. Keep in mind, in two other games, we had the ball inside the 10 yard line (against Seattle, the ball goes off Cruz's hands, and against San Francisco, the pass was tipped), showing that he has literally kept the Giants in every game (except Washington) until the last play.
Nobody wants to say it, but quietly, Eli Manning is turning his body of work into a possible Hall of Fame resume. The Giants just need to get back into the playoffs so that he can build his postseason body of work beyond that playoff run in 2007-2008. As funny as it is, it seems that five game stretch has been more of an indictment of Manning over the years, instead of catapulting him into the conversation of great quarterbacks. How do you fix that? Do it again. And he will.