On winning while playing less than spectacularly: “It is always good to have a win. I’ll take any numbers in the world but a win is the only one that counts. As a passing game we have to improve on things. We have to get better at being more consistent and find more completions. We just have to get back to making more plays and converting on third downs and in the red zone make some big plays.”
On if his last-minute TD pass to beat the Broncos was his best professional moment: “I would say so. A two-minute drive going against a good team. That Denver team was coming off some big wins and playing really well. To go in there and get a two-minute drive and score a game-winning touchdown is definitely the biggest play so far of my career.”
On his poise in the huddle: “I’ve never been a guy that gets too nervous or uptight. I’m not a screamer or yeller. I try to stay at the same level of energy the whole time and try to stay calm and get everybody on the same page.”
On the team’s confidence level: “I think, obviously, that we are confident we can go out there and we’re going to play well. I think we can’t get too confident because we’re not playing at the level that we need to be playing or are able to play at. We’re making mistakes on offense. We’re still struggling at times. So, there are still a lot of things that (we) need to work on and when we come out to practice we work hard and try to fix things and are going over things to get better. So, we’re not where we need to be, but we’re finding ways to win.”
On if he exceeded his expectations thus far: “I didn’t know what to expect this season. So, I was trying to go out there and improve every game and get better. I have played some good games and I have played some bad games and that’s just the way it goes. I still think I have a lot more improvement to do. I have to be more consistent and become a better quarterback.
“I think I’m taking strides and I think I’m making improvements. It’s going to be slow. It’s not like it just happens overnight. I’m going to have some good games and I’m going to have some bad games. But, I need to be more consistent, figure out how to get completions, and move the ball a little better than what we have been.”
On the team dealing with the loss of Mr. Mara and beating the Redskins: “I think as a team we did a great job of staying focused. We knew what was going on and obviously it was tough for some people with everything going on with Mr. Mara but I think everybody understands that Mr. Mara would want us to stay focused on the game and he would want us to go out and practice every day and compete hard, have a good plan, and go out and play hard. I think from everyone that we have talked to and everyone in the Mara family they were saying to us to stay focused and to get a win.”
Super showdown? Manning was asked last week whether he allows himself to think about the possibility of playing in the Super Bowl against his brother, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.
“That’s the last thing on my mind,” he said. “We have too many big games in the future in the regular season. We have to take it one game at a time. We can’t start thinking about anything else but the next game.”
No matter what happens this year, a game against his brother is in Manning’s future. The Colts are scheduled to visit Giants Stadium next year.
Eli notes: Here are a couple of statistical notes about Manning as the second half of the season got underway.
By beating the 49ers, Manning won outside of Giants Stadium for the first time. He improved to 7-8 as an NFL starter, after a 1-6 start…
Manning’s 32-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Shockey in San Fran was the longest scoring throw of his career. He threw two 31-yarders against St. Louis, one each to Shockey and Plaxico Burress. Shockey has caught four of Manning’s five longest touchdown passes…
For the third time this season, Manning was not sacked. He was not tackled attempting to pass against New Orleans and Denver. Not coincidentally, the Giants won all three of those games…
Manning had thrown at least one touchdown pass in nine consecutive games dating back to least season, the longest current streak in the NFL. He threw 17 touchdown passes and six interceptions during that span.
Mr. Patience: If nothing else Tom Coughlin is certainly not long on patience. So it was quite entertaining when an out-of-town media type last week questioned Coughlin about Manning’s development. After clearly showing agitation at the question, Coughlin actually continued on and gave an excellent answer.
“Well, for the 987th time,” Coughlin said, drawing laughs from the regulars, “I see a young quarterback that progresses every game, that studies hard, that works hard, that learns from every experience that he has, that comes to the sideline and knows exactly what he is seeing. He can tell you about it. Not everything is perfect. Not everything goes the way you want it go. He doesn’t always get the ball to the guy you think maybe he should have, but he has a reason for why he didn’t, and usually it is a sound reason. He is humble, he wants to be very good. He takes all of these experiences and provides himself with another building block or foundation to go to the next step.”
Kind words: While Vikings coach Mike Tice has plenty on his plate, he took a few minutes out last week to expand on exactly how much he’s been impressed with Eli Manning and why.
“I really love that kid,” Tice told the New York media on a conference call. “I have been able to meet him at the Manning camp. I take my son, Nathan, down there every year. The Manning family is a tremendously classy family and Eli’s a very good athlete and very poised young man. (He) plays the game intelligently, like you want a quarterback to. He’s just got so much ahead of him. He’s going to be so much better. He doesn’t look like a kid that’s only been there a couple years, I’ll tell you that right now.”
Tice was asked what Manning needs to do to get to that proverbial next level.
“He’s not that far away from being that now, I tell you,” he said. “But, yeah, absolutely because he’s a student of the game, he’s got size, he’s got the great arm, poise, and great leadership. He’s got all the intangibles to be a great player.”