Eli Manning has always appeared to be the stoic one, in a family of quarterbacks not prone to emotion.
But after last night’s meltdown, with his third pick coming in the final two minutes to seal a loss at Chicago which dropped them to 0-6, the cracks started to show.
Gary Myers of the New York Daily News said Manning was “distraught” while discussing his role in the Giants winless season.
“It’s difficult,” Manning said. “Not on me. I feel bad for my teammates. I feel bad for my coaches. Everybody is fighting every day. I’m fighting, too. I’m trying to get a win for these guys. It’s tough. It’s tough at times when you don’t feel like you are playing your best.”
He’s clearly not doing that. Last night’s final pick came at a time when he’s made so many plays before. Giants coach Tom Coughlin said as much when asked if he expected another game-winning drive.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I’m fully confident.”
Instead, Manning handed the ball off, and when he passed, he threw too high and it was picked off by Tim Jennings to kill the comeback.
“It’s frustrating not winning,” Manning said. “And it’s frustrating because I don’t feel like I’m doing my part to get this team some wins and some chances. That’s the frustrating part. I feel like our guys are fighting hard. Guys are doing their part and I need to start doing mine. . . .
“I think they know, and hope, I’m going to bounce out of it, or that I’m going to make the plays and do the things I need to do. I told them that I’m going to get better these past few weeks and I’m going to start making the plays that I need to make. Obviously, I needed to start doing that.”
If it were as simple as throwing a switch, you’d think he wouldn’t have waited this long. There’s been an expectation that he’s right, that it can’t possibly be this bad, but with each passing week, his generosity toward the other team becomes more and more profound.