Giants quarterback Eli Manning nearly doubled his 2014 interception total in one game.
Manning, who entered Sunday having thrown just six interceptions all season, tossed five more in a 16-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. It was the second five-interception game of Manning's 11-year career.
Head coach Tom Coughlin said Monday that the five interceptions weren't entirely Eli's fault. Does the film confirm this? Let's break down each interception and see exactly what happened each time.
1ST QUARTER: 1st and 10, 8:32 left, ball at NYG 38
Manning lines up in a shotgun set with "11" personnel (three receivers, Rashad Jennings in the backfield to Eli's right and tight end Larry Donnell in-line to the left). Rookie wideout Odell Beckham Jr. lines up wide to the right, but motions into the slot before the snap. Safety Antoine Bethea creeps up as the 49ers show a single-high look with two down linemen and two standing edge rushers (Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks).
The 49ers play a variation of Cover 1 man defense -- free safety Eric Reid drops back into a deep zone while the cornerbacks and Bethea play man-to-man coverage. In this case, the two middle linebackers (Chris Borland and Michael Wilhoite) play a zone. Beckham, circled in white, calls for the ball over the middle of the field after running a crossing route (shown in yellow).
Neither Manning nor Beckham Jr. see Borland waiting two yards behind the route. If Manning had gotten the ball out a bit earlier, or if he had put the ball more to Beckham’s outside shoulder, maybe the interception could have been prevented.
Instead, Borland reads Manning’s eyes, undercuts the route and makes the interception in front of Beckham.
1ST QUARTER: 3rd and 7, 4:42 left, ball at SF 17
The Giants come out in an empty-set shotgun with “11” personnel, but Jennings motions into the backfield before the snap. The 49ers counter with one down lineman and three standing rushers.
Manning takes the snap and looks at Rueben Randle, his first read, on what’s supposed to be a corner route.
Eli rears his arm back, but at the last second sees cornerback Perrish Cox (circled in red) squatting on the route and tries to stop the throw.
However, it’s too late, as the forward momentum of Eli’s arm causes the ball to slip out (hence why the ball didn’t end up anywhere even close to Randle). Wilhoite -- who was playing an underneath zone -- comes up with the interception.
2ND QUARTER: 3rd and 9, 7:08 left, ball at NYG 47
Again, the Giants line up in a shotgun set with their “11” personnel. Randle, circled in white, is the lone receiver to the far left as Beckham Jr. motions from his initial spot out wide to the right to a new spot just behind Preston Parker.
Manning thinks he has Randle in single coverage against Chris Culliver on a deep route (highlighted in yellow). Culliver was all over him (Eli would later say that he thought Culliver hooked Randle and didn’t let him finish his route). An interesting note: Manning did have Parker open over the middle on a crossing route, but he wasn’t looking Parker’s way.
The 49ers send cornerback Dontae Johnson in on a blitz, and he gets into the backfield almost untouched. Manning senses the pressure from behind, steps up and uncorks the pass just before getting hit.
Because of the pressure, Manning’s pass to Randle is badly overthrown. Reid, circled in yellow, reads Eli’s eyes throughout the play and makes the easy interception.
4TH QUARTER: 2nd and 5, 9:48 left, ball at SF 32
The Giants come out in another “11” personnel shotgun set. Manning motions Randle out wide to the left.
Again, Randle appears to be the first read on the play, this time on what is supposed to be a deep curl route (highlighted in yellow).
However, rookie linebacker Aaron Lynch gets by backup right tackle Charles Brown nearly untouched and comes in from the edge. In addition, Smith uses a swim move to get past left tackle Will Beatty. Their combined pressure collapses the pocket and forces Manning to get the pass off quickly -- and inaccurately.
The errant pass is out of Randle’s reach, but not out of cornerback Chris Culliver’s. He makes the diving interception behind Randle.
4TH QUARTER: 4th and Goal, 4:50 left, ball at SF 4
The Giants come to the line in a three-receiver shotgun set. Donnell is in a two-point stance at the line of scrimmage. Fellow tight end Daniel Fells lines up in the backfield at first, then motions out to the right.
Beckham Jr. and Randle each run fade routes, but given that the Giants unsuccessfully ran three straight fades before this play, it was unlikely that they would go to that well again. Donnell, the Giants’ main red zone threat at 6-6, is double-covered over the middle, and the 6-4 Fells is double-covered on a curl route. That leaves Parker, who has single coverage on a curl route to the left (highlighted in yellow).
Eli sees Parker in single coverage, slides up in the pocket and fires the pass. Just as the ball gets to Parker, Johnson comes in and bats it away and up into the air.
Borland happens to be in the right place at right time. He hauls in the tipped pass for his second interception of the day. It was the right read, but the 49ers just made a good play.