by Jeff Pilgrim @Jeff_NYG
Playing with purpose:
With so much uncertainty surrounding the future of the NY Giants, one thing seemed clear. This could very well be Eli Manning’s final start at home.
With Daniel Jones recovering from his ankle injury, Pat Shumur may opt to start him in the final two games and get him some additional experience prior to his sophomore season. It seemed as though the Giants played like it was Eli’s final curtain call. For the first time this season, NY played four quarters of football. Previous games had Giants fan awaiting the inevitable let down in the second half, but not this time. The Giants put the pedal to the floor and made sure Eli got a win.
Even you, Pat?
Even Pat Shurmur had a good day, which may have been his first as the Giants head coach. He let Eli go out on that final possession, just to replace him and let the crowd say thank you. He gave him the game ball and allowed the locker room to celebrate him. For a guy that’s only been with the organization two years, he seemed to really respect what Eli means to the NY fans and to the game. That was pure class by Pat Shurmur.
It’s amazing what can happen when the team comes together as one, playing for each other and not accepting defeat.
THE TEAM CAME ALIVE
Giants scored 36 points, their highest total of the season (29 points coming in the second half)- NY had 412 yards of offense, their 2nd highest total of the season- 138 Rushing yards which is their 3rd best this season (Barkley played like himself again).
I’m well aware it was the Miami Dolphins. But it was also a Miami team that won 3 of 6 coming into Sunday and recently beat the Eagles and Jets, two teams that had their way with the Giants. With many other bright spots, including a few on the defensive side of the ball, it makes you wonder what this team could have accomplished this year with a little more of that fight and confidence they demonstrated Sunday. This leads me to my point…
Eli should have been given more than two starts in September of this season.
It was reported that Saquan Barkley and Sterling Shepard got together before the game, promising each other they’d do everything in their power to get Eli the win. The sentiment seemed to radiate throughout the whole team.
This locker room respects Eli Manning on a level that Daniel Jones couldn’t possibly earn yet. He’s been there and done that. 16 seasons, 234 starts, 2 super bowls, etc. When Pat Shurmur gave the job to Daniel Jones in week 3, he told the whole team it’s a rebuilding year. That certainly shifts the mentality of a locker room.
Eli should have been given at least 8 games to try and make something of this season. With such a young defense, you need to balance that out with a veteran offensive presence. Instead, we went right to the rookie and the result was a 2-11 football team coming into Sunday. It’s yet to be seen if Eli will play again this season, or ever again. If that was his last game, I’m glad he went out with a victory. He deserved every single moment he had on Sunday. The fans chanted “Eli”, the locker room demanded a speech, it was all poetic and perfect. If the Giants play for each other and play with purpose, they can accomplish much more than they realize.