By throwing five interceptions in one game against the Seattle Seahawks, Eli Manning became only the second quarterback since 1985 to have two seasons or more with 25 interceptions.
It’s hard to tell with Manning. He has been in charge of two Super Bowl winning teams during his spell with the Giants, but he has also thrown 169 interceptions since entering the NFL in 2004. In 2007, when he led the Giants to the Super Bowl, he led the NFL with 20 interceptions. In 2010 he led the NFL again with 25 interceptions, but a year later was once again on top of the world, beating the Patriots to claim his second Super Bowl ring.
Maybe Philip Rivers, a name that’s been mentioned along with Manning for so many years, is a great way to explain this issue, while showing a little bit of wrong perception when it comes to quarterbacks and their overall importance. Rivers is having a great season with the Chargers, a team not a lot of people expected much of, with 28 touchdown passes and only 9 interceptions, leading the league in accuracy with 69.9%.
However, he’s coming off a very rough 2012 and a bad 2011, in which the protection he got around him was awful, while the talent he got used to throw to like Vincent Jackson, which made life very easy for someone who pushes for the vertical route instead of more screens and short yardage very difficult. Rivers didn’t become a worse quarterback, but he was on a team with a bad offensive line, declining in almost every aspect and needed a chance in the situation to get out of it.
This isn’t taking the blame off of Manning’s shoulders for the awful season the Giants are having. They are 5-9, which means it’ll be his worst season since his rookie year in terms of Win/Loss numbers, but it isn’t anything special in terms of his accuracy (58.6%) or his the amount of turnovers, even though he’s setting a personal record. Manning is playing badly, but his offensive line has a lot to do with it, as Manning has been sacked 6.9% of his dropbacks this year, more than in any other season.
Quarterbacks are just one bolt in a big machine. They don’t win Super Bowls alone, and they don’t lose on their own. Eli Manning is having an awful season, but he’s not the only reason the Giants look this bad, interception milestones and all.