Manning finished 19-of-31 passing for 188 yards in the 27-23 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night. He led a game-winning touchdown drive in the final minute. That was exactly what his big brother Peyton, who was at the game, was looking for from his latest subject.
So no better time for Peyton to make his brother the spotlight of his latest "Detail," where he breaks down quarterback play. The Giants rallied from a 20-10 second-half deficit to end a five-game skid, and Eli Manning led his 36th game-winning drive, third most since 2004.
“I hope he’ll go easy on me,” Eli said with a smile earlier in the week. He added he probably wouldn’t watch it regardless. Peyton was mostly complimentary, except maybe about his brother’s blocking.
Here’s a quick recap of Peyton’s breakdown of Eli:
The two-minute drill
Peyton was especially impressed with what the Giants and his brother did as they drove 75 yards on nine plays for the winning score. Not that he was surprised.
“To do it in two Super Bowls, I can promise you Eli doesn’t feel pressure in these two-minute situations,” said Peyton, who earlier noted watching his brother throw a game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl was his greatest football moment. “Pressure is what you feel when you don’t know what you’re doing. A famous Chuck Noll quote.”
Peyton called a 31-yard pass to Evan Engram early in the drive, a “cool play” that he had never seen before. Engram looked to be blocking for Saquon Barkley on a swing or screen pass before he exploded into a route deep down the right sideline. Eli hit him with a crucial strike that quickly put them in 49ers territory.
Peyton then marveled at the throw, play call and route run by Barkley on a key 23-yard completion later in the drive. It was a variation of an earlier play in the drive where Eli threw incomplete to Barkley. But this time, Eli hit Barkley on an angle route that Peyton says was set up by a play from earlier in the drive.
“What a great call here at the perfect time. I know it’s a short throw, and you’re going to say, ‘Ah, he’s kissing his butt because he’s his brother and related to him.' But I don’t care if this was Bob Avellini, Steve Fuller or Casey Weldon making this throw, guys that I’m not related to. It was a good throw. This was a sidearm throw, negotiating the defender."
He later added: "If this ball gets batted or incomplete, it will make you sick. So great job retreating, making this little sidearm flip throw to Barkley on the run. This is a runner’s ball. ... Nice execution. Great route by Barkley. He’s a good route runner. He can catch the ball. He’s got some Marshall Faulk in him.”
The impressive throws
Peyton broke down a slant on the first play of the game where he thought Odell Beckham Jr. might have taken it for a touchdown had he not dropped the pass. He saw quality footwork and a perfectly placed throw from Eli to Beckham on the Giants’ first touchdown. He dissected why Eli threw a dime on a rollout in the first half. He noted an impressive “arm throw” on a third-down completion to Corey Coleman on a third-down play in the second quarter. He said Eli recognized confusion in the 49ers secondary that led to Beckham’s second touchdown. There were a lot of unique observations from a quarterback’s perspective that wouldn’t cross the average fan's mind while watching the game.
There was a play late in the first half where it appeared the 49ers left Beckham completely unattended near the end zone. The Giants ran Barkley for a one-yard gain on third down. Peyton reiterated what coach Pat Shurmur said publicly this week: Eli made the right call to kill the pass play for the run. Both safeties were deep in the end zone, and San Francisco was in a zone defense where Peyton thought the middle linebacker was trying to goad Eli into throwing to Beckham. If not for a miscommunication up front, Barkley would have walked into the end zone on the running play, per Peyton. He didn’t. Instead, Beckham was left uncovered in the end zone watching the failed play.
There was a play when Eli, kind of, blocked for wide receiver Sterling Shepard on a successful end around. The defender fell to the ground. Peyton said Eli probably considered it a pancake block. Still, his brother wasn’t impressed.
“I don’t know about this block, E,” Peyton said. “Once again, I have no room to talk about blocks but he probably gets credit for a pancake. But if you watch in slow motion, the 49ers guy probably knocks the other guy down.”
He said that …
“First thing, he’s kind of wiping that windshield with his left hand and elbowing the short guy with his left elbow, and then he’s flicking the booger off with the right hand. You kind of have to turn your hand out, your fingers out, so the booger will fall off. If you turn it in, the booger is going to stick. There is your classic throwing motion. If I have the arm, I’m going to try and fit it in there. But let’s don’t make a habit out of there. But every now and then you have to make arm throws, talent throws and fit it in there in tight coverage. E-Man does it right there and keeps this drive alive.”