COMMENTARY | This is not all about Eli Manning.
The New York Giants' 27-21 loss Thursday night in Chicago, their 0-6 start, and the fact that they've been mediocre, at best, over their last 22 games, isn't all on the quarterback.
Last year, the Giants lost three games in December and missed the playoffs. Now, after six games and one disappointing performance after another, the 2013 season is effectively over, though we're not even halfway through.
There will be no playoffs this year, even though the Giants play in a weak division. If they're lucky, they might win six games. Or, things could totally fall apart. That's assuming you're not under the impression that they already have.
So while you can blame general manager Jerry Reese for not upgrading the roster, the offensive line for not being any good, the lack of a running game (save for last night), or a defense that can't stop anyone (save for a few drives last night), you do have to put some of the blame on Manning, the franchise quarterback whose season keeps getting worse.
Last night, Manning threw three more interceptions, bringing his 2013 total to 15. He threw his first one on his third pass of the game. On the Giants' second possession, he threw a pick that was returned for a touchdown. He saved his last one for the worst time. With the Giants down six and driving in Bears' territory, Manning was intercepted again.
The Giants had their moments Thursday night. After Manning's first pick, the defense stopped the Bears at the four-yard line. (Following the pick, the drive started on the Giants' 12-yard line.) Down by 13 with just over five minutes to go in the third quarter, the Giants drove 91 yards for a score. Credit Manning for that one. Brandon Jacobs, who we all thought was done, had a great game, running for 106 yards and two touchdowns. If it wasn't for Jacobs, the game would have been over at halftime.
But what it came down to was this: the Giants had the ball at their own 11-yard line with 5:21 to go. Desperate to keep their season alive, they were driving. Jacobs rushed for 30 yards. There was a pass to Hakeem Nicks for 11 yards and a 13-yard run by Da'Rel Scott. There were two incomplete passes and then a completed pass to Tim Jennings, who happens to play for the Chicago Bears.
Like the Giants, Manning had his moments last night. But at times this year, he's looked flustered. He's looked lost. Most of all, he's looked bad. For that reason, and because of so many others, the Giants are going nowhere. Not last night and not next week.
It's not all on Manning. He's still one of the better quarterbacks in the league. He's just not as good as he was two seasons ago. Neither are the Giants.
Charles Costello has followed the Giants for 30 years. He was a beat reporter assigned to cover the team during the 1997 season.
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