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Season-In-Review: What Went Right – Quarterbacks

Eli Manning had a breakout year in 2009, there is no question about it. Manning joined elite company in the discourse of Giants history by throwing for over 4,000 yards in a season on 509 attempts. Manning amassed 27 touchdown passes, and had 14 interceptions.

G GS Comp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Sck SckY Rate Att Yds Avg TD FUM Lost
16

16

317 509 62.3 4,021 7.9 27 14 30 216 93.1 17 65 3.8 0 13 8

Here is the subtext of these stats — he did it all without a single agreed upon #1 receiver, without a bona fide veteran receiver to speak of, without the same productive offensive line he’s been playing under the last 2 seasons, and above all else the Giants attempted to grow out of a power rushing offensive scheme and tried and establish a more balanced attack of pass and run… with all this in tow, Eli Manning quietly had a career year that leaves us encouraged about the Giants aerial attack for years to come.

And one of the best parts about preseason, training camp, and then the eventual start to the season is — we saw hints of this coming. Here is a reminder of what Eli Manning had to say about his options before the very first game against the Redskins (article):

I think we have receivers who can make plays. Guys who can get down the field, guys who can break tackles and we are going to see what the defense is doing and make our adjustments. If I can get us in and out of good plays, I think we have the guys out wide who can be explosive and get down the field and do some great things. It’s not like to hit big plays you have to throw it fifty yards down the field, you just have to hit guys on the move and guys have got to break tackles and you have to be effective blocking up front and throwing the ball. It is a combination, we are going to have a great mix of run and pass, but we have to be able to do both well.”

How right he was…. and while the running game suffered all year for myriad reasons to everyone’s dismay, Eli Manning and his receivers surprised everyone. During camp I vividly remember Manning claiming that they had worked extra hard on working in the deep ball to the game plan — and the results showed. 60 pass plays went for over 20 yards from scrimmage — that’s 5th best in the NFL — and this commitment to making big plays through the air is perhaps why Eli’s yardage per play (7.9) is tied for 8th best in the league with his brother Peyton for the first time in his career, an obvious career high as well.

David Carr proved again to be a very capable backup QB as well.

G GS Comp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Sck SckY Rate Att Yds Avg TD FUM Lost
6

0

21 33 63.6 225 6.8 1 0 2 11 93.6 9 27 3.0 1 1 0

There are the stats for the Giants Quarterbacks – they speak volumes in terms of how well this Giants offense has responded to criticism, especially through the air. And in many ways, Eli Manning is the only reason the Giants ended with a .500 season, it’s not like the Defense made any stops. And the Giants running game only amounted to approx. 40% of plays called as opposed to 60% passing, which was the balance the Giants won with in their 2007 Championship season, and it’s the balanced ratio Tom Coughlin preached about since the beginning of the season.

I thought Kevin Gilbride called a much better series of plays this year, but even more creativity was needed. One can only run a QB draw so many times in a row before it becomes the status quo…. after all. But as Gilbride clearly committed, Eli executed the slants and sluggo’s that made the Giants passing game what it was this year – dynamic. Everything we have been asking for in a passing game was there this year – deep threats, play makers, consistency, chain movers, short yardage converters… everything was there for the taking and Manning cashed in.

If only the defense showed up… but I suppose that’s what next year is for (sigh).


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