Entries in Eli Manning (4)


Eli disproves the idea he’s done—at Niners’ expense

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Eli Manning didn’t look so bad, did he? All those stories he was finished, about to be benched by the New York Giants? The San Francisco 49ers could only wish he wasn’t in the game.

   And also wish they could play defense when required—late in the game.

  Manning was a very efficient 37-year-old quarterback Monday night/ He was a very efficient quarterback Monday night for whatever age, throwing three touchdown passes including one to Russell Shepard with 53 seconds to play that gave the supposedly helpless Giants a 27-23 win over the Niners.

   Neither team is very good, being kind, but the Niners had won their previous game, the Giants had lost five in a row, and fans and writers back in New York, where everyone has an opinion, were pleading for Kyle Lauletta to replace Manning.

  First-year coach Fritz Shurmur  stayed the course, which coaches tend to do, and so the Giants have a 2-7 record, while the 49ers, entering bye week with a thud—they had a 20-10 lead in the third quarter—enter their bye week at 2-8.

  “We should have won the game,” said Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers coach. But they didn’t. And when you get down to it, it’s the result that counts not a lot of possibilities, a lot of should haves and could haves.

   This was the second start for the Niners rookie QB, Nick Mullins, who after looking brilliant against the Raiders—doesn’t every quarterback?—looked like a rookie, if a competent one, against the Giants

  Mullins did complete 27 passes of 39 attempts, one for a touchdown, but he also threw two interceptions. Manning, careful, capable,  as a veteran  under pressure has to be, was 19 of 31 for 188 yards and the three touchdowns, two to Odell Beckham.

  After the winner, running back Saquon Barkley, the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, said he went over to Manning and told him, man, you’ve been doing this since I was like 12. That’s Eli.

  Barkley ran for 67 yards.

  But the stats are misleading. The Niners had the ball more than 24 minutes out of the total 60 minutes and outgained the Giants, 374 yards to 277. What the Giants had was Manning, the two-time Super Bowl champ, and the 36th game-winning drive of his career.

  “We found a way to finally score some points,” said Shurmur. “I watched when I wasn’t coaching here as he engineered drives at the end of the game. That’s what Eli is really good at. I thought that was terrific.”

   A key holding penalty on San Francisco linebacker Malcolm Smith helped keep alive the Giants’ final drive, but Shanahan, the Niners coach, had no complaint. “He grabbed him,” said Shanahan, “They called it.”

   Shanahan’s assessment of Mullins was unenthusiastic: ”I think he did some good things,” he said, “and some things we need to improve on.

  “He didn’t get gun shy. Played his game. I don’t think the picks affected him.”

   They affected the Niners, of course. Two turnovers to none for the Giants.

  “I thought we put ourselves in a position that we should have won the game,” was the Shanahan lament. Up 20-10 after the first drive in the third quarter. Gave up a big kick return.”

  And then Manning worked his magic.

“He was getting the ball out fast,” said Niners defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. “They had a game plan to try not to get Eli hit.”

  Manning, sacked only once, was elated by the performance.

“That was big,” said Manning. “We’ve been good at the two-minute drive this year. Unfortunately we’ve been down two scores or left too much time. But when we needed touchdowns we got them. I told the guys this week, we’ve worked too hard not to be rewarded with a win.”

   They were rewarded, at the 49ers’ expense.


Newsday (N.Y.): Raiders show respect for Eli Manning as they prepare to host Giants

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

ALAMEDA, Calif. — His brother, David, was the backup to Eli Manning on the Giants who rarely played. Now, as fate and fable would have it, Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders will be the first to play quarterback against the Giants since Manning was replaced as starter.

“I know this about Eli,” Carr said. “He’s a great person. I was able to learn from him a couple of years ago at the Pro Bowl. I was fortunate and blessed to be on that same team as him. Just learn from him, ask questions, all of those things.”

Read the full story here.

Copyright © 2017 Newsday. All rights reserved.


RealClearSports: Eli: 'This Might Be the Last One'

By Art Spander

INDIANAPOLIS — The father and two sons, as so many others walking the streets, wore football jerseys — but not those of the Giants or Patriots. These were Green Bay Packers uniforms, the No. 12 of Aaron Rodgers.

A year ago, they were the team. A year ago, he was the man. A year ago.

How quickly the days go by. How swiftly times and teams change.

Read the full story here.

© RealClearSports 2012

9:48AM Quarterbacks, the Great and the Unknown

By Art Spander

So the $40 million man goes to the bench, and the guy who nobody wanted becomes the starter. Once again, you have to wonder what goes on with pro football. Does anyone in charge have a clue? And how did 198 players get chosen before Tom Brady?

Quarterbacks have been big and expensive the last few days. Eli Manning signed an extension for $106 million. Then Philip Rivers, whose draft rights back in 2004 were traded for Manning, received an extension worth $98 million. Somebody must think these guys are important.
Because they are. It's an unarguable fact that every play starts with the quarterback touching the ball, other than that wildcat formation and punts or place kicks. In the NFL, you don't win without at the least a good one. But how do you get a good one?

The San Francisco 49ers had the first selection in the 2005 draft, took quarterback Alex Smith, gave him $40 million and now -- because of injuries and other difficulties -- he's second string behind Shaun Hill, who in his first five years in the league, four of those with Minnesota, played maybe five minutes.

Meanwhile, Brady, who's won three Super Bowls, who's considered to be no worse than the fourth best quarterback in the game and by many no worse than the very best, was taken in the sixth round.

That's better than Kurt Warner, who as we well know was a virtual outcast, had to work in a grocery store and, disproving all theories except the one that a strong arm is never to be underestimated, has played in three Super Bowls, including the most recent.

You've heard this. Drafting is not an exact science. That's a justification for making mistakes. Not that the people in charge don't have a decent understanding of what they need in a quarterback.

Manning, the No. 1 pick in 2004, won a Super Bowl. Ben Roethlisberger, the No. 11 pick in 2004, has won two Super Bowls. Rivers, fourth that same year, has had the San Diego Chargers in the playoffs. On ESPN the other day, Mike Golic was debating which of the three he would take. Interestingly, it was Rivers.

John Elway was the very first selection in the 1983 draft. He quarterbacked the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl five times and won two of those times. No one questioned the choice or later his performance.

Alex Smith, however, was a questionable No. 1. The 49ers had the first choice. The 49ers needed a quarterback. The presumption was they would take Aaron Rodgers, from Cal, just a few miles away from the Niners' headquarters. The second-guessing has gone on for four years.

Sometimes all a quarterback needs is a chance. Sometimes it's better when he never gets that chance. We're told the best job in the NFL is backup quarterback. You're anonymous, bullet-proof. Until you're forced to play.

Literally, Shaun Hill was forced to play. He had been in Europe with the Amsterdam Admirals, the same for which Warner spent a season, and in retrospect it was a season well spent, Kurt going to the St. Louis Rams and to unforeseen success.

Joining the Vikings in 2002, Hill -- as Warner, undrafted -- virtually never crossed the sideline. Oh, they let him in a couple of times to kneel down at the end of the game, a gesture that once you're beyond high school serves no purpose. What, someone wanted Shaun to earn his letter? Or to let his family know he still was around?

He came to the Niners in 2006, and with Smith in his second year taking every snap, Hill again was a non-entity, this time in a red jersey rather than a purple one. But in 2007, Smith separated his shoulder, Trent Dilfer, No. 2, also was hurt and finally in December, Shaun Hill was throwing and handing off. And winning.

Because Mike Martz, who interestingly enough was Warner's offensive coordinator with the Rams had the same role in 2008 with the Niners, Hill was deemed not capable of directing the Martz wild-air attack. But head coach Mike Nolan was canned, Mike Singletary took over and on came Hill, the methodical sort that Singletary prefers.

Now, as Manning and Rivers receive their raises, Shaun Hill becomes a starting quarterback for a season opener for the first time. And even he seems amazed.

"It's been quite a ride,'' Hill said. "I almost made it through a whole six seasons without taking a real snap in the league, and now here I am, with an opportunity to start for one of the most storied franchises in the league, a franchise that's had great quarterbacks through its history.''

Hill isn't Joe Montana or Steve Young. Hill isn't Eli Manning or Ben Roethlisberger. He's the man nobody wanted but now the man the San Francisco 49ers need.

As a reporter since 1960, Art Spander is a living treasure of sports history. A recipient of the Dick McCann Memorial Award -- given for his long and distinguished career covering professional football -- he has earned himself a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was recently honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the PGA of America for 2009.

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© RealClearSports 2009