Despite his success, negativity and doubt have followed Peyton’s younger brother since the moment he was traded from the San Diego Chargers to the New York Giants on draft day of 2004. Regardless of what he does or how well he performs – even in a league that lives and dies by the motto, “What have you done for me lately?” – he is questioned and criticized.
In Sunday's 27-23 victory over the Washington Redskins, Manning completed 26 of his 40 passes (65%) for 337 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. And although he led the game-winning drive, which was capped off by a 77-yard touchdown to wide receiver Victor Cruz, he did struggle for most of the game. In fact, he acknowledged as much in his post-game press conference.
After two very solid weeks of football, his struggles on Sunday -and especially his two interceptions- have paved the way for his doubters and detractors to return to the forefront. Additionally, there was some legitimate criticism worked in, but the vast majority were all over Eli just for the sake of being all over Eli. It's precisely why this column will last as long as Eli's NFL career.
Rob Parker, ESPN
"I say [Eli Manning] for front runner for MVP? No way, no how. He's come back and beaten some bad teams when he's looked terrible early on, [but] they've only beaten one team with a winning record. You struggle against Cleveland and Tampa Bay and even those others where you have to pull out miracles at the end. Even Washington, that had to be a blown coverage. That's an easy throw for most QBs to make. Cruz was wide open. … When it comes to Super Bowl's, yes he's been impressive, but maybe with a little asterisk because it was against an aging Tom Brady and Patriots who haven't won since spygate."
Dan Graziano, ESPN
"I watched that game Sunday, for those three hours, the best player on that field was not the two-time Super Bowl MVP. He got the last laugh, sure. And everyone who reads this blog regularly knows how I feel about Manning. But as of this moment, he's a notch behind Griffin for the starting quarterback spot on the All-NFC East Team."
MJD, Yahoo! Sports
"Let's not go overboard in kneeling at the feet of Eli Manning for being clutch. It was a good read and a good throw, but more than anything else, that was a bust by the Redskins. Safety Madieu Williams guessed wrong on a route and paved Cruz a yellow-brick road to the end zone."
DeAngelo Hall, Washington Redskins
"For [Eli] to say that in the first half he picked up on it and to not make a play until the last play of the game? I don't know how well he picked up on it. I feel we gave him that play. It wasn't something where he was a rocket scientist and he figured something out. We just played that as bad as possible."
Ed Valentine, Big Blue View
"Not Eli's best day. Yes, he had the game-winning throw to Cruz. Yes, he passes for 337 yards. Manning threw two horrid interceptions, though. He also left a lot of plays — and points — on the table with errant throws that looked more like the beginning of his career Manning."
Brad Gagnon, Bleacher Report
"What was wrong with Eli Manning against Washington? I mean, the play to Cruz masks it all for most of us, but I didn't like what I saw from a less-accurate-than-usual Manning for much of Sunday's game at MetLife."
Burberry Shawty, Twitter
"I seriously think Eli Manning got Down syndrome or some type of sprinkle of retardation cause he ugly and talk slow."
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