QB Eli Manning completed 21 of 36 passes for 227 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions during New York's 22-16 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
"We've got to keep getting better, so there's still lots of room for improvement," Manning said after the win. "We've got to score more points offensively. But no turnovers today, so that's a positive. It wasn't the most ideal conditions to have a big day offensively, but we ran the ball over 100 yards, threw the ball efficiently enough and had a nice game plan. Guys played smart and played good football."
The Giants' first possession saw the offense drive the ball 78 yards down the field for a touchdown in under six minutes. With New York facing fourth and two from Chicago's 17-yard line, Ben McAdoo took yet another fourth down gamble, and Manning found rookie WR Sterling Shepard for a 15-yard gain. This led to a Rashad Jennings two-yard touchdown run.
After the next two Giants drives resulted in a three-and-out and a field goal, the Giants would enter halftime down 16-9.
Manning opened up the third quarter by going 4-for-6 for 44 yards and finishing the drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to TE Will Tye.
The defense then forced a quick three-and-out to put the ball right back in Manning's hands.
One thing Manning is not known for is running the ball, as the veteran quarterback entered Sunday's game with negative five rushing yards on the season. Yet on the second drive of the half, on a crucial third and four from their own 27-yard line, Manning used his legs to pick up a big first down. He would find WR Victor Cruz for a 48-yard gain on the very next play, and finished the drive by delivering a pass to Shepard for a 15-yard, go-ahead touchdown.
"Eli Vick, yeah," C Weston Richburg jokingly said after the game. "He made things happen when he needed to, it was awesome."
Once up 22-16, McAdoo took his foot off the gas a bit and turned to a more conservative play call for the rest of the game. The offense as a whole struggled because of this, including Manning who finished New York's final five drives by going 2-for-7 for only nine yards.
Manning's Total Quarterback Rating of 84.1 was his second-highest of the season (he finished with a QBR of 87.1 in the win over Baltimore).
It was a tough day to pass the pass the ball with any accuracy, but both Eli and Jay Cutler managed just fine. 21-for-37 is pretty good on a day where the wind was basically unpredictable. Nice plays to Shepard and Tye for scores and the 48-yarder to Cruz, but other than that, he was fairly ordinary. And that was by design due to the weather conditions.
Some quick observations from Pro Football Focus....Eli ws 10/15 for 131 yards under pressure, two of six on deep passes and two of six off of play action. He didn't have the luxury of a strong running attack to sell that play action, however.
With Odell Beckham Jr. bottled up most of the game, Eli did a nice job going to Shepard, who is gaining the confidence of his quarterback with each passing week. He did not take a sack and played a very conservative game. I wouldn't call this a staple performance by any means but simply a veteran QB taking what the defense gave him. He is learning not to lose games by gambling unnecessarily, although he got careless a few times.
The Giants are going to need Eli to play at a higher level as they approach the difficult part of the schedule after the Thanksgiving holiday. Their running game has been showing some signs of life but is still a bit stagnant. He's going to have to bear more of the burden if the Giants are going to make any noise in January.