After watching these past couple weeks' games both live and replayed, I noticed Eli is not nearly as in sync with the WRs in the passing game as he has been and, in my opinion knowing his style of play, as he could be. I understand we've had WRs banged up, and the pass defenses in WAS and DAL are better than many in the league, especially DAL's strong CB corps. Eli has posted a combined 68.7 passer rating these past two weeks, though his season passer rating is 89.1. He hasn't put as much together as he usually would, and that has got me thinking.
In previous seasons, I remember thinking that while our guy is often clutch with the game on the line, I wonder...if they'd played better the other 3 quarters, would we really need such strong play in crunch time? So I pulled together a little research thanks to Google, and here's what I came up with: Eli commonly struggles in the middle of the season.
2007: QB RATING (SEASON), 73.9
WEEKS 8-12, 63.0 - This is obviously Eli's first Super Bowl winning season. I thought it wouldn't be fair to go back further because he was still coming into form at this point. But this midseason swoon is bumped up because of a dome performance in Detroit, which had a passer rating of 100.7. Without it, Eli's QB Rating for the month would've been an abysmal 53 from mid October to mid November.
2008: QB RATING (SEASON), 86.4
WEEKS 10-14, 81.3 - I know at first glance this looks like I am splitting hairs but like 2007, Eli was helped immensely by playing in a dome during his swan dive gameplay. Without his game in Arizona, he would have posted a 69.8 rating at this time, which is far from the norm in a team that ended the season at 12-4.
2009: QB RATING (SEASON), 93.1
WEEKS 6-8, 54.7 - After starting the season at 5-0, the Giants went on to post a 3-8 record the rest of the way, and many were asking questions about Gilbride, Manning, and Coughlin.
2010: QB RATING (SEASON), 85.3
WEEKS 9-13, 76.2 - Again, here's more help against an atrocious Jacksonville Jaguar defense. Eli is playing against them at home. Without that showing, Eli is at a passer rating of 65.8 at the same stretch.
2011: QB RATING (SEASON), 92.9
WEEKS 8-10, 78.8 - Here's the good news. During Eli's roughest patch of the 2011 season, he's still a better QB than the guy who won the Super Bowl on his back for us based on the 2007 season stats.
I'm not sure what to make of this. In many instances, certain circumstances have helped Eli out of the duldrums, albeit for only a week, whether it be a dome game, home game against inferior opponents, or other circumstances. Unfortunately, our schedule is such that there are really no easy games from here on out. One mistake can cost you the game. We have to really count ourselves lucky to have beaten Dallas last week even with 6 forced turnovers, including a pick 6.
What I love about Eli is that he starts strong, and generally finishes well. It's these middle weeks where you're not sure which Eli will show up and, generally speaking, it's not the same guy at the beginning and the end of the season. We've been fortunate...our defense can bail us out a lot, though they don't score many points that often, they still take the ball out of the opposing offense's hands by forcing stops; however, even that can be shaky at times with our DBs often looking confused and over matched if our pass rushing isn't effective, and with the running game having to move mountains to gain a few inches, we need Eli to be the same to win games.
My hope is that guys come back, stay healthy, and show up to have consistency around Eli. My gut says with this article that Eli will post a strong game this week to prove my logic wrong. I hope I'm right!