Cowboys vs. Giants: Full Week 1 Report Card for New York QB Eli Manning

Lou Rom@louromliveContributor ISeptember 6, 2012

Sept 5, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) is sacked by Dallas Cowboys defensive end Jason Hatcher (97) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE
The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

Eli Manning and the New York Giants were in midseason form on opening day of the NFL season Wednesday night.

Unfortunately, last year's Giant midseason included a stretch of four losses in which the G-Men gave up 32 points a game and Manning consistently played catch up.

Manning, though efficient, was certainly not elite.

The two-time Super Bowl champion posted a 21-of-32 performance for 213 yards and one touchdown in the Giants' 24-17 home loss to the Cowboys in front of 82,287 at MetLife Stadium.

Manning's counterpart, Tony Romo, on the other hand, went 22 for 29, for 307 yards with three touchdowns and one INT.

From the opening series, Dallas' defense frustrated Manning and the Giants offensive line, ultimately recording three sacks and twice as many pressures.

Manning, one of the league's more elusive quarterbacks last season, was sacked twice by linebacker DeMarcus Ware and once by defensive end Jason Hatcher. 

Ware sacked Manning twice in the first half, the second sack coming on 2nd-and-long, forcing the Giants to go three and out right after the Cowboys scored the first touchdown of the game.

The Super Bowl MVP was solid but never found his groove. Manning was unable to string together a great run, even late in the game, where he shined last year. 

Even on the Giants' last drive, which pulled New York to within a touchdown with thee minutes to play,  Manning was just average, completing five of eight passes for 34 yards—at one point, going incomplete on three of four.

Manning was accurate enough, completing 65 percent of his passes, but was rushed so often he rarely had a good chance at a long ball.

He did, however, spread the ball around well, with three players—wideouts Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and newly acquired tight end Martellus Bennett—grabbing four or more balls each.

A surprise to many: Neither rookie standout Rueben Randle or 2012 reclamation project Ramses Barden caught one pass.

Chalk Marks: If Manning is going to break 5,000 yards this year—he threatened the Marino mark last year—he's going to have to average about 320 yards per game the rest of the year.

Grade: C