Roughly half of the New York Giants fan base is on fire and burning down social media as of Monday morning, demanding that the days of Eli Manning, the franchise’s winningest quarterback and two-time Super Bowl MVP, come to an end.
They have no logical plan for a replacement, but their fury makes them certain that it’s time to move on from Manning and that, poof, all issues will be magically solved.
Head coach Pat Shurmur does not share that same vision and has previously stated he wants to have Manning back as his quarterback in 2019 — an eventual end that is far more likely to occur that the armchair alternative.
Even in the face of another loss — the team’s 10th of the season and 23rd over the previous two seasons — Shurmur had nothing but good things to say about the 37-year-old gunslinger.
“He did a heck of a job,” Shurmur said of Manning after the game. “I think Eli did a good job, but I think it was still coordinated. We had the run play-action going and he did some good things.”
The sole dark mark on Manning’s performance was a game-sealing interception with under 1:00 remaining, which is wildly characteristic of Eli, who is one of the best fourth quarter quarterbacks in NFL history. But Shurmur acknowledged Manning simply went ahead with the call, threw the ball to a spot and indicated the intended receiver was not where he was supposed to be.
“We were just taking a shot down the field. We had three receivers up the field and they split the safeties on us and he tried to take a shot on them. I don’t fault that. We had to get the ball down the field anyways,” Shurmur said.
Manning, never one to place the blame elsewhere, shouldered the lost, but he, too, indicated that wide receiver Bennie Fowler failed to reach his spot.
“Just trying to hit Bennie running down the middle,” Manning said. “I thought I threw it in a pretty good spot, but obviously just a little high. It’s one of those deals — throw high over the middle, those guys are going to make a play. But I thought I threw it in a spot where he could make a catch on him and get a chunk right there. Kind of had a double move called on the outside. Those situations, you’re in a bit of — you’ve got to take a shot. You’ve got to take a chance and get a chunk play. I thought I threw a pretty good ball, but obviously not.”
The result was not what the Giants wanted, but it very well could have gone a different way had Odell Beckham Jr. or Russell Shepard played. Those are all would have and should haves though, and that does nothing to change the result of Sunday’s game.
Still, if you can watch Manning’s performance in Week 16 and still solely place blame on him for the Giants’ recent woes, there will be no convincing you differently. But the good news is that the Giants aren’t reactive in such a way and Manning will, in all likelihood, be back under center in 2019 and contrary to popular belief, that’s a good thing.