Pulling off a perfect play-action is a lost art form in the NFL, but if you have a player at the quarterback position that can pull it off, it makes it a valuable weapon for a team when they pull it off.
Luckily for the Giants, they have a player that has gotten nothing but better at pulling off the play-action the past few seasons, that being Eli Manning.
The QB is mentioned in an article by Sports Illustrated – The NFL’s Hidden Talents: Best play-action quarterbacks.
Here’s what author Doug Farrar has to say about Manning and his ability to shine when it comes to play-action:
After a fairly disastrous 2013 season in which he completed just 57.5% of his passes and threw a career-high 27 picks, Manning turned things around in Ben McAdoo’s offense last year. His completion percentage moved up to a career-best 63.1%, and he lowered his interception total to 14 with 30 touchdown passes, his best total since 2010. Having Odell Beckham, Jr. wreck every secondary he faced certainly helped, but play-action was another positive factor. In 2014, Manning went with play-action on 21.3% of his passes, with 11 touchdowns and four picks, as opposed to 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions without it. The season before, he ran the play-pass 15.8% of the time, with three touchdowns and five picks to show for it.
The Giants have helped Manning with shorter passes in those situations, as well as “levels” concepts in which he can pick the most open receiver at different tiers of the field. Then, his ability to manipulate the defense pays greater dividends. And of course, having Beckham making catches like this one against Dallas in Week 12.
It was the first play of the second quarter, and Manning had Beckham outside right with Brandon Carr covering him. That was Dallas’s first mistake. When Manning faked to Andre Williams after tight end Daniel Fells moved into the backfield pre-snap, the Cowboys’ linebackers were torn between coverage and pressure, unable to commit to either one because Manning had rolled out of the pocket. From there, it was Beckham’s turn to defy gravity, and Carr’s turn to get beaten deep, picking up a penalty for his trouble on the coverage.
It’s a solid article that talks in-depth about the lost art in the league, and while Luck is on the list for his ability to produce magic, fellow QB’s that make the list include: Andrew Luck of the Colts, Ben Roethlisberger of the Steeers and Philip Rivers of the Chargers.