Eli Manning walked over to a waiting group of friends and family outside the New York Giants’ locker room, leaned in and gave his wife, Abby, a kiss on the cheek. Abby had vowed years ago after a rough night among the Philly crowd that she would never watch a game in the city again.
However, an exception had to be made. Manning on Monday made his first start for the Giants in three months and there was no guarantee that he would get many more.
“She kind of had to break her rule and come for this one,” Manning said. “I hadn’t played in three months. I don’t know if I’m going to play again.”
Manning has fallen from Super Bowl champ to substitute starter, and a couple of early flashes of success against the Eagles could not be sustained in the second half.
The Eagles rallied from a 14-point deficit, and Carson Wentz tossed a two-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz in overtime to lead them to a 23-17 win.
Manning grabbed his helmet and went to midfield to shake hands, whisper and smile with Eagles and Giants players before he headed back to the locker room with another “L” on his record — a 116-117 record, but with two Super Bowl championships.
“I didn’t know it, so no thoughts,” Manning said.
The ignominious records have piled up this season for the Giants, who lost their ninth straight game, tying a franchise record set in 1976, when the team opened 0-9.
Manning, who turns 39 next month and is to become a free agent after the season, has not thought much about his future. He only got the start because 22-year-old rookie Daniel Jones, who replaced Manning after Week 2, is out with a high ankle sprain.
It is uncertain when Jones is to return and Manning could finish out the season — so that leaves the question: When will Manning decide if he returns for next season?
“Probably next year,” he said, smiling.
Manning was 15-of-30 for 203 yards and threw a pair of touchdown passes to Darius Slayton, but 179 yards came in the first half. He only completed four passes for 24 yards in the second half, and did little to prove coach Pat Shurmur was wrong to bench him.
“I thought he battled. He did a lot of good things,” Shurmur said.
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