- The connection between Eli Manning and Odell Beckham hasn't been pretty for most of the season, but the duo managed to take advantage of the 49ers secondary on Monday night.
In a wildly miscalculated, un-flexible Monday Night thriller, the Giants earned their second win of the season over the similarly disheveled 49ers with a 27-23 comeback victory. Here’s what we learned…
1. At least Odell Beckham is happy again. This was a warm-blanket game for Giants fans, who got to walk away from the evening with the illusion that Eli Manning still has it, and Odell Beckham is still interested in staying here for a while. The two Beckham touchdowns were throwbacks to a bygone era. One came on a go route that Manning can still throw with surprising consistency from close distances, and the other on a settle that saw Beckham float backwards, between and behind double coverage, giving him just enough room for the score. This was the way Beckham and Manning solidified their connection back in the day—a mix of Beckham’s athleticism and creativity combined with some situational accuracy from Manning. Every now and then, an opposing defense will open up those opportunities and the Giants took advantage Monday.
If the Giants remain lost in the woods for the remainder of this season, it would at least be nice to get a few Beckham highlight grabs for us to enjoy.
2. The Nick Mullens Hollywood script is on hold. But he did keep the 49ers in it until the end. While this was mostly a product of some beastly running from Matt Breida, who had 17 carries for 101 yards and a touchdown (in addition to three catches for 31 yards and another score), these past two weeks have showcased what head coach Kyle Shanahan can do with just a few complementary pieces. Think about it: An offense with Mullens, Breida, Alfred Morris, George Kittle and Marquise Goodwin kept pace with a defense that, on paper, should have throttled the 49ers under normal circumstances. It’s easy to say that we’ll all be collectively drooling over this team again next year once Jimmy Garoppolo is healthy, but it’s the truth. Good offenses will still have the advantage while defenses scramble to keep up, and this team has a high ceiling when fully healthy.
3. Eli Manning was always going to get his farewell. I think it will be easy for some to paint this game with the underdog narrative, where Manning somehow had to prove that he was worthy of the starting job for the rest of the season. That’s certainly how the questions were framed to head coach Pat Shurmur afterward, but who else was going to play? Manning was always going to get to dictate his exit, and despite the ugly slate ahead (Tampa, at Philly, Chicago, at Washington, Tennessee, at Indianapolis, Dallas) he’ll be able to deliver a few more signature moments before the Giants have to make the legitimate, uncomfortable decision that many thought they should have made a year ago at the position.