New York Giants: How Eli Manning Goes from Zero to Hero

Francisco Bernard@illbefrankieContributor ISeptember 18, 2012

Eli Manning threw for a career high 510 passing yards en route to a 41-34 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Eli Manning threw for a career high 510 passing yards en route to a 41-34 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

It was the end of the first half and the boos were loud in MetLife Stadium. They weren't, however, aimed at the New York Giants as a team, but at Giants QB Eli Manning.

Manning had just thrown one touchdown and three interceptions during the first half, with the last interception being returned the other way for a touchdown.

But one thing to know about Manning and the Giants is to never count them out. History has taught us why.

Brushing off his rough first half, Manning exploded from the start of the third quarter, leading the Giants to a revival and showcasing just why they are the defending Super Bowl champions. When the final whistle blew, it was Manning and the Giants who stood tall, snatching victory away from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by a score of 41-34.

Manning finished with a career-high 510 passing yards, and as he was taking a knee to end the game, the Tampa Bay defense plowed into the offensive line of New York, knocking the quarterback to the ground. But just like his performance in the second half, Manning rose up, unharmed and strong.

For Eli, the game was a reminder of why he has two Super Bowl rings. Above all else, he has resiliency.

Manning's resilient play rubs off on his teammates and forces the entire team to play with the same attitude. People talk about how Tim Tebow brings a certain "never-say-die" element to a team, but the same can be said for Manning. After throwing three interceptions in the first half, most quarterbacks would struggle to crawl back into the game.

Not Eli. Last Sunday's game proved it. The gradual progress he has made in his career has now turned him into an aggressive, resilient player in his prime who already has two titles on his resume.

While we can sit here and praise an obvious sensational performance, we need to remember one thing—this was against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that was not on many peoples' list to make the playoffs. Let us wait and see how he performs against Carolina. For now, rejoice New York Giants fans everywhere, and savor a career performance by Eli Manning. 

While Manning went from zero to hero with his performance, it also shows how much work still needs to be done for the Giants.

Offensively, Manning needs to perform for a full game. On Sunday he was lucky he faced the Bucs and not the Ravens or Bears. Andre Brown stepped up beautifully when Ahmad Bradshaw went down during the game with a neck injury.

Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz made up for subpar performances against the Cowboys in Week 1, combining for 378 yards and two touchdowns. Martellus Bennett continued his solid play, finishing with 72 receiving yards and a touchdown. With the Carolina Panthers and their high-octane offense looming, the Giants need to bring that same intensity and poise they displayed in the second half to contend with Cam Newton and company.

Defensively, the Giants improved from the beating they received from Tony Romo in Week 1. Michael Boley and Corey Webster each had an interception, and the pressure from Jason Pierre-Paul and the defensive line that propelled the Giants last year was evident.

Newton will be a good test for the defense to back up the performance against Tampa. If the Giants can shut down Newton, it would be a huge momentum booster for the defending Super Bowl champions.