Moeller: Was It Manning’s Swan Song as a Starter or Giant?

This may have been Eli Manning’s last stand in the team’s 20-13 loss to Washington.

That is via a trade or as a starter.

The 1-7 Giants are on a bye week and then have a Monday night date in San Francisco.

Interestingly, rookie Kyle Lauletta was inactive for the game. On a normal game day, Lauletta likely would have gotten a chance late in the game.

But this was going to be all Manning. It either was a last hurrah, or it could have meant the Giants will let him ride it out for the rest of the season.

The only way he was going to leave the game was for an injury, and then journeyman Alex Tanney would take over.

With the fall cleaning underway, Manning would be give every opportunity to prove he could lead his team to a very winnable game over Washington.

He finished the afternoon completing 30 of 47 passes for 316 yards with a meaningless touchdown to Evan Engram and two bad interceptions.

He couldn’t get out of the way for the seven sacks and threw a very untimely interception inside the Washington 10-yard line, ending a drive that could have been a momentum-swinger in a 7-3 game at the time.

He heard the calls from the restless fans several times beginning in the first quarter on an instance when the Giants were flagged for offsides, and he was called for a delay of the game on the same drive.

However, Manning did have some moments.

He linked again with Odell Beckham Jr, who made some nifty grabs from his 8-catch, 136-yard performance, topping the 100-mark for the second straight week.

Saquon Barkley was an effective weapon in the flat as he caught nine balls for 73 yards.

But Manning also fell victim to those in his huddle.

Evan Engram dropped three balls, one on a fourth down late in the game, and Sterling Shepard couldn’t hold on to a pass when he was behind the Washington secondary with a clear field ahead.

Barkley couldn’t find any running room as he finished with a measly 38 yards, one more than the team total at 37.

The Giants receivers couldn’t get open enough, probably due to the Redskins’ tight secondary play and their playcalling.

The drab, gray sky symbolized their effort.

Like they have over the past seven weeks, the Giants didn’t make the big play when needed and failed to capitalize on situations.

Head coach Pat Shurmur said after the game that he was going to look at everything and didn’t comment on a quarterback change.

With more changes likely to come this week, it will be interesting to see if Manning will be taking the snaps in San Francisco.

About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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