Troublesome ‘D’ awaits Manning
Giants QB has had difficulty with unit before
Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs will not gloat over the success the Ravens defense has enjoyed against Eli Manning. That makes sense, considering that only five players are left from the last time the team faced the quarterback in 2012 and that that group does not include stars Ray Lewis or Ed Reed.
And there’s the fact that the face of the New York Giants carries the last name that has become synonymous with quarterbacking excellence.
“He’s a Manning,” Suggs said. “So they know what they’re getting, and they know exactly where to go with the ball, and they become dangerous like that.” Still, it’s not a stretch to argue that Sunday, 1 p.m. TV: Chs. 13, 9 Radio: 97.9 FM, 1090 AM Line: Giants by 31⁄
among the 31defenses Manning has faced in his 13-year career, the Ravens (3-2) have proved to be one of the most troublesome.
In three meetings against the Ravens, Manning has a 51.0 quarterback rating and a 44.9 completion percentage — both of which are his lowest against an opponent. He has been intercepted three times while throwing just two touchdown passes, and New York is just 1-2 in those games.
By comparison, Manning’s older brother Peyton had a 104.4 passer rating, a .642 completion percentage, 25 touchdowns against just six interceptions and a 9-2 regular-season record against the Ravens.
In his rookie season, Eli Manning completed just 22.2 percent of his passes (4-of-18) for 27 yards, zero touchdowns, two interceptions and a 0.0 quarterback rating in New York’s 37-14 loss to the Ravens on Dec. 12, 2004. During the game, defensive players got into the head of Manning.
Even in his lone win — a 30-10 thumping Nov. 16, 2008 — Manning connected on 56.5 percent of his throws (13-of-23) for one touchdown, one interception and a 73.3 rating, but the offense was powered by 207 rushing yards.
During a conference call with Baltimore media Wednesday, Manning said he could not recall his previous performances against the Ravens.
“I can’t really remember over the years,” he said. “They’re always a good defense. They have good players. We have to go out there and try to find ways to make plays and get positive yardage.”
Manning’s perspective might be clouded by the Giants’ three-game losing streak, which has coincided with subpar performances from their quarterback. In two wins, he completed 73.9 percent of his throws for three touchdowns and one interception en route to a 106.9 quarterback rating. In the three losses, those numbers slid to a 57.6 percent completion rate, two touchdowns, three interceptions and a 73.8 rating.
Manning’s struggles this season have opened the door for fans and media to wonder whether his time as a franchise quarterback is dwindling. Manning, 35, who has three years left on an $84 million extension he signed in 2014, is ranked 20th in the league in completion percentage (.636) and tied for 22nd in touchdown passes (six) despite having a receiving corps that includes Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Linebacker Jarret Johnson, right, sacks Giants quarterback Eli Manning for a 7-yard loss in 2008. “They’re always a good defense,” Manning said of the Ravens. Cruz and standout rookie Sterling Shepard.
“[It’s] just going against a couple of good defenses and just haven’t been able to score when we got down,” Manning said. “We’ve had some decent drives and just haven’t been able to finish off the drives and sustain them long enough to get touchdowns on the board. We just have to find a way to get in rhythm, get some completions, get the run game and just get all of our weapons going.”
With Ryan Nassib and former Raven Josh Johnson backing up Manning, New
For Mike Preston’s blog post on how the Ravens need their young pass rushers to step up, go to York coach Ben McAdoo has no choice but to defend his starter. McAdoo insisted that he’s not panicked about Manning’s play.
“When things go well, the quarterback sometimes gets a little too much credit,” McAdoo said. “When things don’t go well, he gets a little too much blame. I think there’s enough of that to spread around, including myself.”
For all of the difficulty Manning has encountered thus far, he still commands a certain level of respect among the Ravens. On several occasions, safety Lardarius Webb referenced Manning’s resume as a two-time Super Bowl champion.
“To me and to all the guys, he’s Eli Manning,” Webb said. “He’s been around here for some years for a reason. He’s able to get the job done.”
A sports hernia prevented cornerback Jimmy Smith from getting onto the field in the Ravens’ 33-14 victory over the Giants on Dec. 23, 2012, but he has watched enough film to be impressed with Manning’s strengths in and out of the pocket.
“He’s somebody who gets the ball out very quick,” Smith said. “He’s a veteran, likes to read the coverage and make a throw to the right spot. He’s a good scrambler, he scrambles to throw. That’s a very good attribute for a quarterback.”
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees said he spends time watching a quarterback’s good plays. And Pees said there’s enough on film to be concerned about Manning.
“First of all, the guy’s an experienced guy that’s got a couple Super Bowl rings,” Pees said. “So he’s obviously pretty darn good. He’s got great command of the offense. That’s his offense, he runs it. He does a lot with the protections. It’s all at the line. So it’s a no-huddle offense. It’s his baby. I know they’re radioing things in, but it’s his baby, and if he does the job of recognizing the coverage and what you’re in, he’s going to get you — just like his brother. That’s what worries me the most about him.”
Terrell Suggs helps Giants quarterback Eli Manning off the turf. Manning is ranked 20th in completion percentage and tied for 22nd in touchdown passes this season.