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Morning Jolt: Eli crumbling under pressure?

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Wednesday, December 29

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Eli wilting under pressure?

Last Monday, Eli Manning reportedly stood up in a players-only meeting and put the weight of the Giants season on his shoulders. Then six days later he looked like a player incapable of handling such a heavy load. We all know better, of course. Or at least we did. Anyone who saw Manning's outstanding, and sometimes brilliant, run to Super Bowl XLII knows what he's capable of doing in a very big game. But that was nearly three years ago and he hasn't come up really big in a really big game since. ... [On Sunday in Green Bay, Manning] looked like a player who was pressing, forcing his throws, rushing his decisions. He wasn't his usual, methodically calm self. He looked like a quarterback desperate to make a play. (New York Daily News)Comment

Yanks Levine: We need Pettitte

While Andy Pettitte vacations in Hawaii, the Yankees may be sweating things out a little more. After already whiffing on Cliff Lee in free agency, the Yanks are aware there are few other big-name options available to slot in behind CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes in their starting rotation. "Every day I hope Andy comes back," Yankees president Randy Levine said at a Times Square press conference Tuesday to kick off festivities for Thursday's Pinstripe Bowl between Syracuse and Kansas State at the Stadium. "Andy's a great Yankee and a great person and I know he'll give it thought and follow his heart and we'll respect his decision. But we're out there, all of us, hoping every day that he comes back," Levine added. "I think he knows we need him. I think he knows how much we respect him and what a great leader he is." (New York Daily News)Comment

Kobe, Lakers officially reeling

In what might have been the worst game of Tim Duncan's career, the Lakers still lost to the Spurs, despite Kobe Bryant's enthusiasm before tipoff. Bryant was determined to carry the load but instead shot the Lakers out of the game, scoring 21 points on eight-for-27 shooting, including a span in which he missed an unsightly 13 consecutive shots at AT&T Center. He was angry at his teammates after a pair of listless efforts last week at Staples Center. This time, he shouldered the blame. "I couldn't put the ball in the basket and it snowballed from there," Bryant said. ... Bryant had five turnovers and only one assist as the Lakers lost three consecutive games for the third time since acquiring Pau Gasol in 2008. (Los Angeles Times)Comment

Must-See Photo

Manchester City's James Milner tramples Carlos Cuellar of Aston Villa during the team's match Tuesday. A 4-0 victory by Manchester City pushed the team to the top of the Premier League standings. (Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Must-See Video

Michael Vick and the Eagles struggled in Tuesday night's game against the Vikings. Though Favre-less and using their third-string QB Joe Webb, the Vikings were still able to pull off a 24-14 upset against Philly.

Game To Watch

Heat at Rockets (8:30 p.m., ET)

  1. Miami Heat
  2. Houston Rockets

SI Vault: Wayne Gretzky

This Day in Sports

  • 1989 -- Wayne Gretzky and Martina Navratilova are named the Associated Press' athletes of decade
  • 1982 -- Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant ends his tenure with Alabama having notched 323 wins
  • 1957 -- The Detroit Lions beat the Cleveland Browns 50-14 in NFL championship