Eli Manning's return spoiled by scoreless second half

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Eli Manning's return under center started about as well as anyone could've imagined. In front of friends and family, the 38-year-old New York Giants signal-caller, benched for a rookie 16 years his junior in Week 3, appeared rejuvenated by his second chance at a final farewell.

Manning threw two touchdown passes in the first half of Monday night's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, both to rookie Darius Slayton and both for at least 35 yards. Eli played smart and relatively efficient, completing 11 of 19 passes for 179 yards for a 124.7 passer rating in the first half and leading New York to 17-3 lead over its hated division rival. All that was old was new again.

"I felt good. In a good rhythm," Manning told reporters after the game, per SNY. "Saquon was running well. Offensive line was protecting well. Guys we're getting open. I thought we could keep it going in the second half."

Narrator: They could not. Under Manning's stewardship, New York was not nearly as explosive in the final two frames, running 20 plays, tallying 24 passing yards and 30 yards total, picking up just two first downs and punting six times in six drives.

Big Blue blew it, and Eli (15-of-30, 203 yards) knew it.

"They played well in the second half and took away some of our things and we didn't execute quite well enough," Manning said of Philly's defense. "We've got to help out our defense. We've got to score points."

The Giants were held scoreless down the stretch, while Philadelphia scored twice in the final 17 minutes of regulation to tie it up and sent it to overtime. New York never got a chance to touch the ball in the fifth quarter, and the Eagles walked off with a 23-17 win.

New York's ninth straight loss not only dropped the Giants to 2-11 on the year but sent Manning's career record sub-.500. Entering Monday night with a 116-116 record, Eli is now one game below average.

Manning said after the game that fact didn't bother him and that, unlike the national media, he was unaware of the stat heading into the Eagles game. If Daniel Jones (ankle) is healthy enough to return to the starting lineup next week, then Manning will forever hold that sub-par record.

Giants coach Pat Shurmur said he's going to play the starting QB role week to week for the remaining three games, leaving open the possibility that Manning get back even. Eli would prefer to correct the Giants' record.

"I'm just going to take it one week at a time," Manning said. "Just see what the coaches are telling me, find ways to improve and help out the team and try to get a win."

Manning helped the Giants for a half on Monday, but it wasn't enough. Whether it's the final great half of football we'll ever see the two-time Super Bowl winner play with Big Blue, truly Eli's last goodbye, remains to be seen.

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