I’ll admit that the thought never crossed my mind while watching yesterday’s game. There was no lightning bolt moment, no huge play, no mounting garish numbers to suggest it to the eyeball. But after the game, looking at the boxscore, you could make the following statistical argument:
The win over the Eagles was Eli Manning’s best game as a Giant.
Manning completed 16 of 23 passes for 254 yards. Those aren’t anywhere near career-high numbers. But he did throw four touchdown passes for the sixth time in his career, and did it against no interceptions for only the second time ever, the first since 2005.
It’s a flawed stat for sure, but Manning’s passer rating was 145.7. That’s his highest ever in a game in which he took at least the vast majority of the offensive snaps. His previous best in a full game was a 144.4 rating at Washington on Dec. 21, 2009. Manning had a perfect 158.3 rating vs. Oakland on Oct. 11, 2009, but he played only the first five series of the game coming off his foot injury the previous week.
In fact, after beginning the game against the Rams going 1-for-6 with an interception, Manning has completed 34 of 46 passes for 461 yards, six TDs and no interceptions since. That streak started with the one-handed grab down the left sideline by Hakeem Nicks that was statistically clarified to be a reception.
Do I think it was Manning’s best game ever? Not really. Two of his touchdown passes came on short throws to Victor Cruz and Ahmad Bradshaw. His other long TD pass to Cruz was thrown into double coverage. He underthrew Henry Hynoski a little on his go route, overthrew Cruz on a deep ball down the right sideline early in the game. He was sacked three times for 22 yards. Like I said, it didn’t pass the eyeball test of a great game.
But the numbers don’t lie. And considering what was at stake in this game, the receivers Manning had to work with (or more accurately the ones he DIDN’T have to work with with Domenik Hixon on IR and Mario Manningham out with a concussion) and the loaded Eagles secondary he was playing against, it will certainly go down as one of his best performances ever.