Sunday he became the seventh quarterback in NFL history to pass for 50,000 yards.
Despite needing just 186 yards to get there, it wasn’t a sure thing that Manning would get it done. Manning averaged a paltry 131 yards passing in the two games ince losing Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Brandon Marshall, and Dwayne Harris against the Los Angeles Chargers.
With Shepard returning after the bye week, Manning was able to get enough production through the air to get it done with 220 yards passing.
But while he managed almost as many yards passing as in the previous two games combined, Manning was not sharp against the Rams. He left yards — and more importantly, points — on the field as he and his receivers struggled to connect. While there were miscommunications on offense, Manning also largely failed to throw with the touch his passes required. Many questioned the arm strength of the 36-year-old coming in to the season, but the ball seemingly leaped out of his hand in the soggy conditions on Sunday, and too often sailed past open receivers.
About those missed connections, Ben McAdoo said, “We had chances down the field. We’ve gotta make those throws, gotta make those catches. This is pro football, we’ve gotta cash in on opportunities like that. You don’t get many in a game.”
Manning finally adjusted and dropped a deep ball into the waiting hands of Shepard for a 37-yard gain, which put him over the 50,000 yard mark. He followed that up with a 10 yard strike to Evan Engram for a touchdown.
But these flashes of what got Eli to this milestone were lost in too many passes that were off target, rushed, or dropped when they were catchable.
“No, just really the one to Shep, I’ve got to hit that,” Manning said. “It’s quarters, you’ve got a post route. You know, I haven’t thrown many routes to Shep on the outside, so it’s been mostly a lot, but you’ve got to hit that one. You know, with Tavarres, it’s more of a scramble, kind of late just trying to put it over the safety, maybe a shot for him to get it or nobody. Obviously, just overshot it a little bit.”
What Manning has done is not the future for the franchise. As the Giants said this past offseason, Eli is on the “back nine” of his career. McAdoo pulled Manning from the game in the fourth quarter, playing Geno Smith. He hinted after the game that rookie quarterback Davis Webb could be active in subsequent games so he can get experience — and the team can see what they have in him.
“You really can’t look from my chair too far ahead, but you also have to lok at getting some players some reps in a game,” McAdoo said. “We’ll take a look and see if there’s any players that we can give reps to that have a chance to be part of our future.”
“It’s a great opportunity,” he added, “for some players who didn’t think they’d be playing a lot of football at this point to see what they’re made of, see what they’re capable of and see if they can be a part of our future.”
With the Giants likely having a high pick in the upcoming draft, quarterback almost has to be in play, but they also need to have some idea of what they already have in Webb.
However, nobody can deny that what Manning has accomplished is a major feat. He joins Dan Marino, John Elway, Brett Favre, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to eclipse the 50,000-yard mark, and that is good company to be in.