Per Newton's first law of Manning-dynamics, the success of one Manning brother must result in the equal but opposite futility of the other.
Peyton Manning is having another MVP-caliber season: He's on pace to break a couple of all-time NFL records, and his Denver Broncos are one of the best teams in the game. Eli Manning, on the other hand, can't seem to do anything right for the floundering Giants.
The younger Manning on Sunday threw five interceptions and zero touchdowns in a shutout loss to the Seattle Seahawks. But that line doesn't fully elucidate how woeful Manning's performance was.
Eli Manning is 1st QB with 0 TD, 5 Int & under 200 yards since Mark Sanchez in 2009 #NewYorkFootball
— Jeremy Lundblad (@JLundbladESPN) December 15, 2013
Yeah, that'll do it. Eli Manning just played arguably the worst game for a quarterback since Mark Sanchez, a QB most notable for running into his teammate's butt and being so reviled that his own team's fans sadistically cheer his (many, many) failings.
Manning's miserable Sunday wasn't an anomaly on the year either, but rather the low point in a horrendous season that will — even if he goes full Joe Montana in his last two games — stand out as by far the worst of his career.
Though Manning is averaging about as many yards per game as he has in the past, he's doing so with with far less efficiency. His completion percentage is the lowest it's been since 2007, and his league-leading 25 interceptions are tied for the most he's ever thrown in a year.
As a result, Manning is on pace to finish with his lowest passer rating (69.7) since his rookie campaign. To put that horrendous mark in context, it's the third-worst in the NFL, above only first-year starter Terrelle Pryor and rookie and heir to the butt fumble crown, Geno Smith.
Meaning, there have been a lot of great Manning-face moments this year.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin called the Giants' performance Sunday "pathetic," saying that "obviously there's concern" about Manning's horrible year and whether it portends a future steep regression. But he also rightly argued that Manning alone can't be blamed for the totality of the Giants' failings.
New York has been decimated by injuries. The defense has been middling, at best. And the team ranks 28th league-wide in rushing, placing a heavier burden on Manning to carry the offense single-handedly.
Hence, the Giants started 0-6 — their worst start in almost four decades — and are, two years removed from a Super Bowl title, already eliminated from playoff contention. Certainly the Giants would have had a better year behind an effective quarterback, but even peak Manning wouldn't have been enough to overcome the team's myriad woes.
Peyton Manning is going to the playoffs; Eli Manning is not. But Eli's remaining two games aren't entirely meaningless: He could very well crack the top 10 on the all-time, single-season interceptions list.