Eli Manning's return to Giants starting lineup didn't get its perfect ending

For a while, it looked like Eli Manning would give us one more memorable moment.

Not all stories get the right ending. In his first start since Week 2, Manning played well in the first half and the New York Giants led 17-3. Manning threw two touchdowns to rookie Darius Slayton. Philadelphia Eagles fans booed their team off the field at halftime. If this was Manning’s last start, with the New York Giants or in the NFL period, it was shaping up to be special.

But then it fell apart. The Giants stopped moving the ball and didn’t score after halftime. The Eagles came back to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, Manning couldn’t answer with a game-winning drive, and then the Eagles scored a touchdown on their first drive of overtime to win 23-17.

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It was sure fun for a little while, though.

Eli Manning had a big first half

There are debates about Manning’s place in history, but it would be hard to find anyone who doesn’t think he has represented the Giants and the NFL very well over his long and storied career. Everyone aside from Eagles fans seemed to be rooting for him to have one more big moment as he replaced injured rookie Daniel Jones.

Manning, a Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner three seasons ago for his off-field charity work, has handled being replaced by Jones as well as he could. It looked like he wouldn’t get another shot with the Giants, but then Jones sprained his ankle. Jones was reportedly close to playing on Monday, so maybe he’ll be ready for Week 15. And perhaps we’ll never see Manning play for the Giants again. If he doesn’t take another snap, his two Super Bowl wins has forever cemented him as favorite of Giants fans. And he did have some special moments on Monday night.

When Manning was rolling in the first half, it was easy to see the respect his old teammates have for him.

You can imagine Manning’s teammates through the years, tuning into “Monday Night Football,” all rooting for one more great moment in a fantastic career. That’s respect.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning celebrates with teammates after a touchdown pass to wide receiver Darius Slayton. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Giants quarterback Eli Manning celebrates with teammates after a touchdown pass to wide receiver Darius Slayton. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Manning, Giants struggle after halftime

Alas, Manning couldn’t keep it going. The Giants had 29 net yards after halftime and their seven possessions resulted in six punts and the end of the fourth quarter. They simply couldn’t move the ball in the rain.

Manning had a shot to pull off a game-winning drive after the Eagles tied it with 1:53 left, but he couldn’t get the Giants past midfield and they punted. There was no more magic from the first half left over.

Maybe Manning gets another start, but it seems Jones could be ready for Week 15. Maybe Manning continues to play elsewhere next season. There has been no definitive word about what he wants to do. But at least he gave us some fun moments on Monday night, even if the ending didn’t follow the preferred script.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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