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The Early Lead
Posted at 12:24 PM ET, 12/12/2011

Eli Manning and the Giants are capable of fourth-quarter comebacks, too


How you like me now? (Ronald Martinez - Getty Images)
It may be hard to believe, but Tim Tebow wasn’t the only quarterback to lead a miraculous fourth-quarter comeback on Sunday.

Yes, Tebow did it again, as the Broncos erased three quarters of inept offense to set up Matt Prater for not one, but two 50+-yard field goals to move Denver into sole possession of first place in the AFC West.

But how about that Eli Manning fellow? All he did was bring the New York Giants back from a 12-point deficit to beat the division-leading Cowboys 37-34, on the road and in primetime.

Perhaps “miraculous” isn’t quite the right word, considering the opponent — a team that iced its own kicker one week ago and lost in Arizona. But give credit to “the other” Manning for continuing to prove his worth in the Big Apple.

With Saturday’s result he has now led the Giants to six come-from-behind victories this season alone and has 14 fourth-quarter touchdowns.

The Giants trailed by 12 points with six minutes left, and managed to score twice in all of 2:29, on the shoulders of their Super Bowl-winning quarterback.

Sure the Cowboys made their mistakes — including Dan Bailey missing a potential game-tying field goal and a number of inopportune penalties — but it was Manning’s improvisation in the pocket on the Giants’ final drive that set up Brandon Jacobs for the winning score. And that was after Mario Manningham dropped a touchdown pass only a few plays prior.

Manning hasn’t exactly had his full complement of weapons this season — Manningham, Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw have all missed time with injuries — and yet here the Giants are once again, tied atop the NFC East with only three weeks left.

Whether it’s New Yorkers complaining about his blank facial expressions, or analysts around the league stumping on his behalf, few sentences about Manning conclude without the mention of one of two words: overrated or underrated.

Take a quick look at the two sets of 2011 numbers below:

---------------Comp---Att----Pct-----Yds-----TD-----Int---Rating

Player A ----328----496----66.1----4,273----33-----11----106.0

Player B ----303----489----62.0----4,105----25-----12-----95.5

Player A is Tom Brady. Player B is Manning. Brady clearly has the edge (not to mention two more rings), but Eli’s production this season should warrant more recognition that he’s getting.

So where do you stand with Eli? Is he approaching his brother’s territory as one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks? Or will he always be a cut below the rest?

More from Washington Post Sports:

Box Score: Giants 37, Cowboys 34

Early Lead: Chiefs fire head coach Todd Haley

Early Lead: Tebow isn’t short on belief — or miracle finishes

By  |  12:24 PM ET, 12/12/2011

Categories:  The Early Lead

 
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