Manning completed 21 of 44 passes for 229 yards in a driving rainstorm. He also had two costly turnovers, throwing an interception and losing a fumble. But neither Manning nor the offense’s scoreless performance in a 17-0 loss yesterday caused Shurmur to waver from his assertion.
“Because I’ve seen him play good football,” Shurmur said. “And I’ve seen how when we have a coordinated effort of protecting him, running the football effectively, and being able to run the ball throughout the game, it helps us. We threw the ball more than I would have liked to in the game that was really one score, but seven of those throws were in the two-minute before the half, and then there were 15 in the fourth quarter when we were down by 17. That skews the numbers. The important thing about yesterday in our coordinated effort was we didn’t get enough out of the runs when we chose to run the ball. We had a couple of situations where we ran the ball and got penalties and got knocked back and knocked off schedule. That’s where that coordinated effort comes in.”
Manning appreciates Shurmur’s support.
“Coach has had my back all year,” Manning said. “He’s been great. He believes in me. That makes your job easier, when the coach believes in you. We know we can play better. So, it’s a start.”
Manning said he is as certain he can still do the job as he’s always been.
“I know I can play, I can make the throws,” he said. “Yesterday, I made some good throws. It still feels like I can run around and make plays, and do a lot of good things. When there was a stretch when we were playing good football, and we just got to get back to it.”
Despite what’s being said now, nothing is chiseled in stone. When Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman meet after the season, their discussions will certainly result in some restructuring of the roster. But that is for another day.
“I think what’s important is, things you decide in the offseason are things you decide,” Shurmur said. “Right now, we’ve got two games left and we’re going to do what we can to put a plan together to beat Indianapolis. Again, we stay in the moment on that. After every game, really after every practice, we evaluate players’ performances at all positions. Then in the offseason, we all know that there’s decisions that get made that shape the roster; but right now, I’m going to stay right in the moment and get ready to play Indy.”
*Three Giants were injured yesterday: center Spencer Pulley (calf), wide receiver Russell Shepard (sprained ankle), and defensive back Antonio Hamilton (quad).
“It’s really too early to tell (if any or all of them will return),” Shurmur said. “Those are all injuries you can come back from in a week or two, so we’ll just have to see.”