The Sports Daily > Ultimate NYG
Efficient Eli on Third Down

I noted in my look back at the Green Bay game that it seems like recently every time we have had a 3rd and 10 that Easy Eli has been there to keep the drive alive with a huge completion. If it seems that way to anyone else too, there is good reason. Eli has been lights out on 3rd/medium-3rd/long. Not good, not great-LIGHTS OUT. Nearly perfect.

Here’s the thing, the chart below contains all twenty of the Giants 3rd/5-3rd/15 snaps (3rd and medium-3rd and long) since the Dallas game. I decided to leave out anything 3rd and 15+, which as we all know is nearly impossible to convert and teams make their calls on those plays with that in mind.

As we all have seen, Eli has played some of his best football over this stretch. Pretty impressive to say, especially in a season that was filled with plenty of that for him. A short note about each of the unbelievable completions that Eli has made on third down is also included in the table below.

If you’re someone who is interested in this stuff then feel free to read the chart. It’s pretty remarkable stuff. If you’re someone who a) doesn’t care about these things or b) doesn’t understand them then head to the bottom where the stats I will give gets the message across just as well.

That message is this: EVEN ON A MICRO LEVEL (3rd down, where QBs make their money), ELI MANNING IS CLUTCH. We all have heard it in regards to his play in the 4th quarter or in the playoffs, but these stats should add another layer to that clutch reputation on an even more detailed level.


GAME Time 3rd and ?, Ball on?
1st? Play NOTES
GB Q1 13:45 8, NY 22 yes 19 yd completion 10-82

corner route; 82 busted up zone and found spot on sideline

GB Q1 12:15 10, GB 42 yes 11 yd completion 10-80

great route, great throw, beat 21 in man!

GB Q1 4:47 11, NY 19 yes 11 yd completion 10-88

3 man rush, get real! 88 comes way back underneath zone from deep for catch

GB Q2 7:07 8, GB 44 yes 17 yd completion 10-85

let Dilfer take this one to describe 10’s perfect lead to 85.

@TDESPN: #filmstudy G-men:Eli throwing rec open as good as anybody, shows tremendous trust in his guys. pause tape=covered, play tape=completion

GB Q2 5:42 5, GB 34 no INT (10-88)

pressure, no one open, like a punt. 88 needs to get him down when he makes the catch.

GB Q4 10:19 5, GB 28 yes 17 yd completion 10-80

80 patient in zone-d like ten-year vet…one of best in league at that… 10 has so much trust in him!!!

GB Q4 8:28 5, GB 12 no sack

66 and 67 whiff on their blocks on edge, 10 has no chance.

GB Q4 4:31 11, NY 49 yes 17 yd completion 10-80

pass on 3rd/long late, late in Q4 w/ 10 point lead? Welcome to 2012 Giants fans. No rush..see above comment about 80

ATL Q3 12:01 8, NY 26 yes 19 yd completion 10-88

88 burns soft cb on dig route who was begging for inside release and got it and paid the price.

ATL Q3 10:16 12, NY 43 yes 22 yd completion 10-80 wow! Great example of underrated quick feet of 10, dances in pocket and then finds 80 coming across
ATL Q4 13:33 7, NY 33 yes 18 yd completion 10-44

RB in flat by Giants? WOW! 10 hits 44 immediately who as we all know is unreal in open field

ATL Q4 6:34 6, NY 48 yes 13 yd completion 10-82 Big Blue shows unreal trust in 10 to throw here. 10 returns the favor with trust in 82 who makes catch and then some!
ATL Q4 4:55 8, ATL 37 yes 17 yd completion 10-82 See above for comment on Giants throwing late in 4th….82 so athletic on tip toe sideline catch
DAL Q1 7:08 9, NY 5 yes 12 yd completion 10-86

10 goes to all on 3rd, does not play favorites! dump to 86 and let him make play

DAL Q1 1:22 8, DAL 48 yes 14 yd completion 10-15 see above ^.   10’s pocket presence so underrated
DAL Q2 12:16 7, DAL 47 no 5 yd rush 10 10 sees pressure, gets some back for Giants
DAL Q2 6:01 6, DAL 35 no SACK pressure too much, this one isn’t on 10 at all.
DAL Q4 12:35 6, NY 14 no 5 yd completion 10-88 88 needs to run that route past marker, otherwise great play
DAL Q4 9:27 7, NY 27 yes 44 yd completion 10-80 10 great in pocket, trusts 80 to make a play and does..will be one of those people look back on in 10 years
DAL Q4 4:04 5, DAL 40 yes 36 yd completion 10-88

Giants throwing with lead late? Heard this before in this article.

If you’re still with me then here is the important stuff from all of that.

Eli Manning last three games on 3rd/5-3rd-15 (3rd/medium-3rd/long):
20 plays-15/16, 287 yards, 17.9 ypa, 14 first downs, 1 INT, 2 sacks, 1 rush

15/16!!! Are you kidding me. Just incredible stuff. This guy is playing some of his best football of the season, one that has been the best of his career. Is it possible he is getting better? Sure is. Seems like Eli is getting more and more efficent with each game.

Let’s not forget, all three of these games were outdoors (that’s right, I’m talking to you Drew Brees) and while it didn’t feel like winter in the Dallas or Atlanta games, it is still not a dome.

By game:

GB: 5/6 92 yds

ATL: 5/5 89 yds

DAL: 5/5 111 yds 

By reciever:

Cruz: 5 catches for 111 yards

Nicks: 5 for 71

Manningham: 3 for 49

Ballard: 1 for 17

Pascoe: 1 for 12

Bradshaw: 1 for 18

Thomas: 1 for 14

Some closing thoughts….

-The consistencey with which Eli has played on these plays is pretty remarkable and if the Giants can figure out a way to start converting the short ones out in SF and possibly beyond, then this will be a close to unstoppable offense.

-Another thing to take away from this is that whille sure, Eli tends to favor his stars a bit in the clutch, he has no biases as to who he will throw to. Get open and the ball is yours. It’s that simple with Eli.

In conclusion, just another angle to analyze quarterback who has proven time and time again that he plays his best when it matters most. Truly impressive. I have no doubt that he will bring that level of play to Candlestick Park on Sunday.


follow Rich Conforti on Twitter: @richconforti