With a league leading 12 interceptions, Eli Manning is further cementing his reputation as a turnover prone QB. While there is certainly stock to be put in this, it is important to evaluate interceptions on an individual basis to assign blame. While it isn't always clear on every play (remember, we don't know their assignments), watching the All-22 tape gives you a better idea of what exactly happened on each INT.
Anyone who evaluates football will not put much stock in INT totals as an end all be all but the fact is they still exist. To be fair, keep in mind that the opposite applies as well. Plenty of horrible, interception worthy throws go down in the books as an incompletion. Some of these throws and decision are much worse than the interceptions but are not picked because of a drop or a great play by a WR. With that being said, let's take a look at all 12 of Eli's picks.
Interception 1: Giants 0 Cowboys 0, Q1 15:00
A tell tale sign of things to come, this play was the Giants 1st offensive snap of the season and the first of countless sloppy plays in this campaign. Credit goes to Ware for making a great read and an even better catch on the interception. That still does not excuse the poor effort by Beatty and poor decision by Manning on this play. Whether or not Beatty's responsibility (which we don't know) is to invite Ware up field or wash him towards the sideline is irrelevant. He failed to do either. Having said that, Ware's presence is as clear as day to Eli and he still forces the throw. The ball needs to be thrown into the ground here, despite how much open field there was behind Ware. Not good by Eli.
Interception 2: Giants 0 Cowboys 3, Q1 8:58
Not a horrible decision but certainly a very suspect throw by Manning. While Dallas is able to generate some pressure on the play Eli has enough time to attempt to stand and deliver to Jernigan (why he is even in the game is anyone's guess). With the pressure coming Manning rushes his finish and doesn't get through his throw which explains the pass sailing over the WR's head (we know that this was something that plagued Eli early in his career) for the INT. Ok decision, poor throw. This is not a "year 10" pass by Manning.
Interception 3: Giants 24 Cowboys 30, Q4 2:00
Just to set the table– the Giants were on the brink of what everyone expected to be another Eli comeback and another Giants victory in the stadium formerly known as Giants Stadium Southwest/Cowboys Stadium. With the ball at midfield and plenty of time on the clock everyone thought had an idea of where this game was headed. Instead Eli fired a screen pass at Da'Rel Scott who had yet to turn to look for the ball. Perhaps Manning threw it early or maybe Scott did not turn at the proper time. It's impossible to really assign blame here to one or the other. The lack of communication between the two players and the Giants overall inability to run a screen pass led to the tipped pass and ultimately the end of the game. The issue here isn't on this particular play, but rather the Giants' inability to install and effectively execute a screen pass in the Eli/Gilbride era.
Interception 4: Giants 9 Broncos 10 Q2 0:16
This one was an absolute momentum killer. With the Giants driving for an end-of-half field goal and a 12-10 lead it is imperative to protect the football at all costs here. Not to mention the Giants were set to receive the ball at the beginning of the second half. It seems to be another miscommunication between Manning and his target but regardless this one falls on Manning. Even if he thought Nicks was headed to the corner of the end zone, he cannot throw the ball to an area with three opposing defenders in this situation. You HAVE to come away with points here, especially against a team as great as Denver. This one falls squarely on Eli. (Note: On his weekly spot on Francesa's show, Eli mentioned that this INT was a result of him trying to 'throw the ball away but not make it seem like intentional grounding.' Not sure if that makes much sense but if that is the case it is still far too risky a play and a bad one.)
Interception 5: Giants 16 Broncos 24 Q1 15:00
No need to get too deep into this one. Freak play. Sure, the defender made a solid pass deflection on the ball but I'm fairly certain kicking the ball in the air to another defender was not his intention on the play.
Interception 6: Giants 16 Broncos 38 Q4 7:43
With the game all but in hand for Denver, this is one of those cases of Manning trying to force a play to try to spark a quick TD. With the Giants trailing by three scores and facing a 4th and 10, you really can't fault Eli for trying to make something happen down the field here. He gives Randle the opportunity to make a play and unfortunately there were three Denver defensive backs running with him in stride.
Interception 7: Giants 23 Broncos 41 Q4 0:57
Although it came in a meaningless situation this play is still another horrible miscommunication for the Giants offense. Randle runs a stop short of the end zone and Manning throws the ball as if Randle is running a fade. The result is an easy INT for the Broncos defender. Giving Eli the benefit of the doubt here we will call this one a mis-run route by Randle (remember, grasping the offense was an issue for Randle in year one).
Interception 8: Giants 0 Panthers 24 Q3 11:22
The reality of the 2013 season began to sink in sometime around this INT. The Giants were in the process of being shutout and the Panthers had just opened the half with an effortless TD drive to extend their lead to 24. Looking to make ANYTHING happen, Manning looks to Victor Cruz needing to gain 10 on 3rd down. Cruz runs a simple out route and Manning puts the ball in a decent spot. Unfortunately he never recognized that Nicks' defender had broke off his coverage and jumped Manning's pass to Cruz for the INT. It is certainly possible that Manning telegraphed the pass and that allowed the CB to make the read on the play. Also possible is that Hakeem Nicks didn't give 100% on the play, making it evident that the ball was not coming his way, allowing the CB to break off of coverage. Too tough to call.
Interception 9: Giants 7 Chiefs 10 Q3 6:46
With the game still in reach the Giants faced a crucial and manageable 3rd and 6 situation from their own 23. With plenty of time to throw, Manning fired nearly 50 yards downfield looking for Rueben Randle. Problem is, Randle ran a dig (deep in) rather than continuing down the field as Eli imagined. Regardless of the miscommunication here, this route should really not be an option here. The Chiefs clearly showed a 2-deep coverage pre-snap and showed no different post snap. They refuse to allow the Giants to get over the top. Eli stubbornly forces a pass to the deep middle of the field into the waiting arms of Quentin Demps who was surrounded by two other Chiefs defenders.
Interception 10: Giants 21 Eagles 22, Q4 10:49
In what has now become the staple of the 2013 Giants (Andy will cover this later this week) the wheels completely fell off in Q4 for the offense and the entire team. Facing a 1st and 20 at their own 40 after a holding penalty on Kevin Boothe, the Giants are still well positioned to get into FG range. Trent Cole beat Beatty around the edge and got to Manning as he looked for Brandon Jacobs on the quick out route. Yes, Cole got a piece of Manning's helmet when he swung at him. A 15-yard penalty should have been called. You cannot rely on the refs to make plays so to me that is a moot point. Falling to the turf Manning tries to fire an off-balance, awkward arm angle pass to the RB. Instead, the pass ricochets off of C Jim Cordle's helmet and into the arms of a waiting Eagles defender. While you'd like to chalk this up as a fluke play for the Giants, it is also a poor decision to pass the ball by Eli.
Interception 11: Giants 21 Eagles 29, Q4 10:12
Facing a 3rd and 10 from their own 20 and trailing by 8 following a quick Philadelphia TD after the last INT, the Giants season hangs in the balance. Do not think this isn't fresh in Eli Manning's mind. He faces pressure on the play and is able to get a beautiful throw off to Cruz as he is being dragged to the turf. It really was an outstanding effort by Manning and he paid the price on the hit by DT Fletcher Cox. The throw is nearly perfect but unfortunately not as "perfect" as Boykin's defense on Cruz. The DB makes an acrobatic interception and wrestles the ball away from Cruz as the two fall to the turf. No fault to Manning here as that is one of the best plays you will see by a defensive back this season. Tip your cap to him on that one.
Interception 12: Giants 21 Eagles 36, Q4 7:32
In past years the Giants would have relished the opportunity to comeback from a deficit such as this but unfortunately this is 2013. With the Eagles already having delivered the knockout blow(s) and the Giants willingly accepting them, the result of the game is more or less in hand. Manning, still competing, throws a slant pass to Nicks who completely gave up on the route at the first sign of resistance from the CB. Very, very disappointing effort from the WR. There is no doubt that he quit on this route, this play, his quarterback and his team here. This isn't an indictment of Nicks but better is expected out of him. I am sure that will be made clear if this play pops up on film this week. Cannot fault Eli for this one.