Whether this superficial analysis is fair or not, it is certainly the reputation that is tagged on both of these players. I always wondered how QBs fared in similar situations. For example, a QB like Phillip Rivers has played against weak AFC opponents his entire career (this year could be an exception, because the Chiefs and Raiders seem to have had something of a revival) and Rivers was able to pile up great stats against bad teams in blowouts. Eli, on the other hand, as has been well documented on this blog, has played his entire career against the very tough NFC East (again, this year may be something of an exception) and has always seemed to shine in tight situations against rugged defenses. He does not pile up big stats all year and all game long, but always seem to come up big when his team needs him most. This was a feel, an impression that we had of him, but I was not sure if it was accurate and could be supported statistically. Until now, that is - I saw a great analysis this week in the NY Times, in The Fifth Down column by Chase Stuart:
"Garbage" statistics, for quarterbacks, the ones that occur when a game is no longer in question, often don't tell us much. But consider quarterback statistics in close games in the second half only - that is when the score differential is less than 10 points.He continues with some analysis of other QBs, but Eli is at the top of the heap.
Through Sunday, David Garrard, Eli Manning , Derek Anderson and Matt Schaub each posted a passer rating of over 100 in those circumstances.