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Mathias Kiwanuka: Defense has to carry Eli the way he’s carried us

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants Getty Images

The Giants have creeped into the NFC East race by winning their last three games while no one else in the division can find their way above .500 and they’ve done it without much help from quarterback Eli Manning.

He’s thrown just one interception in the last three games, but Manning’s play has otherwise remained the well below average stuff he was turning in during the team’s six-game losing streak to open the season. The team’s been winning despite his play, something that defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka says they’ll have to keep doing as long as it is necessary because Manning has done the same when other parts of the team have struggled in the past.

“You can’t just look at him and say,’Oh, he’s the reason.’ I have no doubt in my mind he’s going to get it turned around and start putting up the numbers that we’re used to seeing,” Kiwanuka said, via the Newark Star Ledger. “But until that happens we have to be able to take it upon ourselves as a defense and say, ‘You know what, he’s carried our butts when we weren’t getting it done for a number of games, a number of seasons even, so we have to make sure we can do the same for him while he’s going through it.’”

It would take a dramatic turnaround for Manning to avoid his worst full season as a starter in the NFL, one that doesn’t feel like it is right around the corner given the sustained struggles he’s experienced this season. More mild improvement seems possible, though, and, coupled with the resurgent defensive effort of the last few weeks, that could be enough to keep the Giants’ playoff dreams alive if the rest of the division keeps cooperating.

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22 Responses to “Mathias Kiwanuka: Defense has to carry Eli the way he’s carried us”
  1. kev86 says: Nov 13, 2013 7:23 AM

    In Eli I Trust. Go Blue!

  2. lolo376 says: Nov 13, 2013 7:47 AM

    When hasn’t the Defense carried Eli?

  3. massappeal12345 says: Nov 13, 2013 8:07 AM

    I just never want to hear another announcer say
    ” that one was not on Eli”

  4. logic4sale says: Nov 13, 2013 8:21 AM

    It’s funny to see Eli struggle BADLY without a running game, offensive line and a lights out defense. He gets a taste of what Romo has had a career of. Yet people would easily put Eli ahead of Romo because he owns two rings. That’s like saying Rothlisberger was/is a better QB than Dan Marino… Shenanigans!

  5. justintuckrule says: Nov 13, 2013 8:40 AM

    The rest of the nfc better hope he doesn’t turn it around otherwise they’ll be in for a rude awakening.

  6. logic4sale says: Nov 13, 2013 8:47 AM

    Manning – 146 Games Played, 58.4% Completion, 33,834 YDs, 222 TDs, 160 INTs, 56 Fumbles, 430 Rush YDs, 4 TDs, 8 Fumbles, 81.7 QB Rating

    Romo – 109 Games Played, 64.7% Completion, 28,418 YDs, 198 TDs, 97 INTs, 34 Fumbles, 548 Rush YDs, 5 TDs, 5 Fumbles, 95.9 QB Rating

  7. nygf says: Nov 13, 2013 8:50 AM

    A bad year all around, especially for Eli. He’s obviously on the downside, but I think he’s got one last shot at a championship in him (not this year, mind) a la Favre in the latter years of his career. Trim some fat this offseason, rebuild the OL (thankfully, one position that can be successfully constructed via free agency) and hope next year brings better results.

  8. allsport1980 says: Nov 13, 2013 9:02 AM

    Let’s just stop with the comparisons of Eli and Romo and please stop acting like Romo has never had a running game or an O Line. Every single yr the Cowboys are predicted to be a playoff team and most yrs they have many more pro bowlers than the Giants. Eli has done more with less his whole career.

    Only 2x in his entire career have the Giants fielded a top 15 defense let alone a top 5. Their running game has for the most part since 2007 been rb by committee and he has had plenty of turnover in his WR/TE corps to overcome. Eli has won championships with a 30th ranked D and 32nd ranked rushing attack. Romo simply hasn’t overcome any of this to be in the conversation of Eli.

  9. chicagogiantsfan says: Nov 13, 2013 9:04 AM

    Manning – Post Season Record 8-3
    Romo – Post Season Record 1-3

    Manning SB Record 2-0
    Romo SB Record 0-0

    Manning – SB MVPs – 2
    Romo – SB MVPs – 0

    Sorry, but what matters at the end of the day is winning the Super Bowl. Is Tony Romo going to be remembered for his “great” regular season stats? Probably not. His legacy will PROBABLY go down as the guy that couldn’t get it done in the post season. ELi, however, got it done TWICE. Try to argue with that pass to Manningham…I dare you.

  10. truthfactory says: Nov 13, 2013 9:36 AM

    Um- The Giants defense has held opponents under 20 points in every playoff game that “Eli” won. In fact, the only time “Eli” loses a playoff game is when his defense gave up more than 20 points.

    Moral of the story: Defense has carried Eli. They’ve held potent offenses like the Packers, Falcons, and Patriots under 20 points in the playoffs. When has he ever beat anyone in a shootout in the playoffs?? He hasn’t. He’s completely dependent on his defense playing lights out and him only having to put up 17 or 20 pts to get a win. There are a lot of QB’s who would be “clutch” if given that kind of playoff defense.

  11. wferg1121 says: Nov 13, 2013 10:12 AM

    truthfactory, in 2010 Eli broke an NFL record for most come from behind wins, with a very bad defense during the regular season and no running game… All these stats guys can go look that up.. Also don’t forget he won two super bowls with two different receiver corps. Giants went to and won two superbowls with a ball control offense whose goal would be to sustain long drives and limit the snaps of opposing offenses… Both of those playoffs years the Giants defense did step up, but the defense still allowed the Pats to take the lead in both games, and only left Eli enough time for one drive.. Eli scored touchdowns on both of them..

  12. truthfactory says: Nov 13, 2013 10:24 AM

    wferg1121 says:
    Nov 13, 2013 10:12 AM
    truthfactory, in 2010 Eli broke an NFL record for most come from behind wins, with a very bad defense during the regular season and no running game… All these stats guys can go look that up.. Also don’t forget he won two super bowls with two different receiver corps. Giants went to and won two superbowls with a ball control offense whose goal would be to sustain long drives and limit the snaps of opposing offenses… Both of those playoffs years the Giants defense did step up, but the defense still allowed the Pats to take the lead in both games, and only left Eli enough time for one drive.. Eli scored touchdowns on both of them..
    ————–

    So now you’re referencing regular season stats to support Eli?? I highly suggest we dont go there because if you do that he’s barely a top 15 QB in the league. There are dozens of QB’s who go through similar situations as what you mentioned in the regular season. But still, what was his record that year?? 9-7? Peyton, Brees, Brady etc overcome those same issues every year and up as 12 or 13 win teams. Are we to celebrate Eli because he gets to 9 wins??

    Eli is said to be “Elite” because of playoff performances. If you look closely at those playoff wins, I’d asign 75% of the reason for the wins to their Defense and about 25% due to Eli putting up a meek 17-20 pts.

  13. jpherling says: Nov 13, 2013 10:29 AM

    How is Eli supposed to have a good season when his offensive linemen allow pass rushers to get into his face and drape themselves all over him?

  14. oside760 says: Nov 13, 2013 11:01 AM

    The addition of Jon Beason has really sparked our defense. I hope JPP is ok and I hope Webster is about ready to come back because Trumaine McBride is just not good at all.. And let’s not forget about Andre Brown. I’m praying he stays healthy and continues to run the ball with authority like this last game. I have a feeling Eli and the o-line will get it together somewhat enough to give the G-Men a chance at winning this division. Think about this, if we beat the Packers and the Redskins beat the Eagles, we’ll be 1 game out of first and a showdown with the Cowboys looming next week. It’s about to get real exciting if things work out how they should.

  15. oside760 says: Nov 13, 2013 11:06 AM

    The thing I’ve hated the most about my Giants this year is special teams and especially Steve Weatherford. Maybe he should stop working on his abs and start practicing his punting skills.

  16. justintuckrule says: Nov 13, 2013 11:30 AM

    @truthfactory- I respect most of your opinions but with all due respect on this one, you sound like an unknowledgeable eagle fan citing scores.

    First, all but one of the playoff games were on the road where home teams rarely get blown out. You play the gameplan to be within range to win in the end which Eli has done.

    That aside, Each playoff game tells a different story. Gb1 and sf were weather games. You’re not gonna see Nintendo scores there. Dallas required ball control because Dallas had a stellar offense with t.o. Same with both pats games. The others, tb, atl and gb2, Eli shined.

    As a smart giants fan, you should know better that score doesn’t tell the whole story.

  17. truthfactory says: Nov 13, 2013 11:59 AM

    @justintuckrule

    I hear what you are saying, but my point is that I think Eli has gotten plenty of support from his team, especially in the playoffs. Just as you referenced “citing scores” as a simple minded practice that doesn’t tell whole story, my argument is that citing 2 super bowl wins also doesnt tell the full story.

    My opinion is that Eli is a very good QB. He can elevate his team a little bit, but is not able to mask major deficiencies like other true elite QB’s. I mean he’s won 2 Superbowls, but he’s only brought the Giants to the playoffs like 4 times in 8 or 9 years. Lots of QB’s play for teams that have major flaws, but the true elite ones overcome them and carry their flawed teams to the playoffs. Eli seems to only be able to get there when the whole team is clicking for the entire season. Not the definition of “elite” in my humble opinion.

  18. Mr. Wright 212 says: Nov 13, 2013 1:35 PM

    logic4sale says: Nov 13, 2013 8:21 AM

    It’s funny to see Eli struggle BADLY without a running game, offensive line and a lights out defense. He gets a taste of what Romo has had a career of. Yet people would easily put Eli ahead of Romo because he owns two rings. That’s like saying Rothlisberger was/is a better QB than Dan Marino… Shenanigans!
    ————

    Romo’s offensive line was never as bad as the Giants’ was earlier in the season. I’ve seen at least a dozen of you fool Dallas fans trying to pull this. Please stop.

  19. chicagogiantsfan says: Nov 13, 2013 1:38 PM

    truthfactory says:
    Nov 13, 2013 11:59 AM

    Lots of QB’s play for teams that have major flaws, but the true elite ones overcome them and carry their flawed teams to the playoffs. Eli seems to only be able to get there when the whole team is clicking for the entire season. Not the definition of “elite” in my humble opinion.
    ———————————————————-
    Elite QBs – Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady. Agreed? Only one of them has multiple SB wins. I’ll take the “mediocre” QB who steps up when the ultimate prize (the Lombardi trophy) is on the line and doesn’t choke (like Peyton).

    And is “the entire team clicking for the entire season” the way the Giants got to (and won) SB 46? What was their defense and running game ranked FOR THE ENTIRE SEASON? Please don’t say regular season stats don’t count when you just said yourself that the only way he wins is when the whole team is clicking for an entire season.

  20. tc200 says: Nov 13, 2013 3:18 PM

    truthfactory says:
    Nov 13, 2013 11:59 AM

    Lots of QB’s play for teams that have major flaws, but the true elite ones overcome them and carry their flawed teams to the playoffs. Eli seems to only be able to get there when the whole team is clicking for the entire season. Not the definition of “elite” in my humble opinion.

    =================

    Name those elite QBs that overcame their teams’ flaws to carry them to the playoffs. Romo in 2007? They were the #1 seed with a record 13 pro bowl players. Favre in 2007? They were the #1 seed in the NFC. Eli outplayed them both in THEIR stadiums!

    Rodgers in 2011? GB had the #1 seed and a bye. San Francisco had the NFC’s top defense in 2011. Eli got hammered time and time again. Remember the hit Willis (IIRC) put on him that left his helmet sideways??? Who got the last laugh?

    Both the 2007 (10-6) and 2011 (9-7) teams were more flawed than any other NFC team to make the playoffs those years (aside from TB in ’07). Even Atlanta in 2011 was expected to put up more of a fight than they did. Both Giants teams stumbled into the playoffs but made the most of their opportunities. Yes, the defense was a major factor, but not 75% as you say. Eli was the other major factor.

    Lastly, in 2011, when the team had NO running game, opposing teams knew Eli was throwing the ball. And they could do nothing but watch the comebacks happen. If that is carrying your team, I don’t know what is.

  21. tarrilasgiant1090 says: Nov 13, 2013 3:38 PM

    @ logigistics4sale

    Eli -twice SuperBowl Champ, Romo-1 playoff win.
    Nothing else matters.

  22. dino2997 says: Nov 14, 2013 2:45 AM

    I’m glad Eli is with the Giants and they are over paying him.

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