Can the Bucs finally make Manning look old?

by Gary Shelton on September 18, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Can Hargreaves have another big game?/STEVEN MUNCIE

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

Elsewhere, they curse his name. Elsewhere, they await the transition to a new quarterback. Elsewhere, they are tired of seeing him fail.

But around here, Eli Manning is still a star.

Manning, the quarterback of the New York Giants, is the perfect example of a quarterback and the way he is observed from the outside. He is a two-time Super Bowl MVP, and as such, he'll probably make the Hall of Fame. But he has spent several seasons being not quite enough.

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The truth is in the middle. Manning is a pretty good quarterback who has been great in two post-seasons. But he has one winning record since 2012. Because Super Bowl rings are the coin of the realm, he'll be remembered as having a pretty good career.  But he's thrown 241 interceptions, and he's had six seasons where his rating was below 80.0. He's never quite been Tom Brady or Drew Brees or Peyton Manning, his older brother.

But being pretty good but not great is a damnable place to be in today's sports. People hunger for the best. Who cares about the rest?

Manning has won just eight games in two years and two games, which is enough for fans to beg for his replacement. He is 116-116 overall, which isn't great when. you remember he's won two Super Bowls.

Ah, but to Tampa Bay fans, Manning is still a star.

-- The last time the Bucs made the playoffs, it was against Manning and the Giants in 2007. The Bucs were favored that day, and much of the reason seemed to be was because of Manning's shortcomings. But Mannimg hit 20 of 27 passes for 185 yards and two scores, and the Giants won the game, 24-14. That season, they went on to upset the unbeaten Patriots in the playoffs when Manning completed a pass off a receiver's helmet.

-- In their  seven meetings, Manning has won six times (counting the playoff game). He's thrown 14 touchdowns and only five picks.

-- In those games, Manning has had games where his rating was 117.1, 106.4,  91.2 and 155.8.

--  Last year, Manning hit 17 of 18 passes against the Bucs for 231 yards and two scores.

-- In 2012, he threw for 510 yards against the Bucs.

-- He is the only starter from that wild-card game still playing.

-- As a quarterback, Manning has beaten teams from Jon Gruden, Raheem Morris, Greg Schiano, Lovie Smith and Dirk Koetter. Only Koetter has beaten him.

So what needs to happen to change things this week?

The Bucs' new secondary has played well in its first two games this season. That will help. Linebacker Shaq Barrett had three sacks Thursday night; that kind of pressure will help.

Look the Giants aren't great. The Bucs have simply made them look that way. If they can run the ball, if they can protect their red zone, if they can do away with silly penalties. they can win this one.

But if Manning has enough time, he can put off old age for one more week.

 

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