In this NFL flashback, we look at November 25th, 2007, and how it was one of the worst days Eli Manning had as an NFL quarterback. It’s been 15 years since Manning threw four interceptions vs. the Minnesota Vikings at home, three of which were a pick six in a 41-17 blowout loss.
Pick Six x Three:
Manning threw his first pick six in the first quarter to Darren Sharper for a 20-yard return. Then Dwight Smith grabbed his second interception of the game with 13:41 left in the fourth quarter on a tipped pass to go 93 yards to the house. The third and final pick six went to Chad Greenway with 12:59 left on a 37-yard return.
Manning ended on a good note; however, finding Plaxico Burress for his only touchdown of the day. Manning finished the game with a stat line of 21/49 for 273 yards and four interceptions with a 33.8 passer rating. Giants fans should’ve known it would be a bad day when the defense gave up a 60-yard touchdown pass nearly 50 seconds into the game to Sidney Rice.
Eli Manning threw a pick six on three occasions during the entire 2007 season, I should add. His worst game came from a Vikings defense that averaged two turnovers per game leading up to week 12. The Vikings’ defense allowed 21 points per game up to that point as well. The same Vikings’ defense took five passes to the house for a pick six and recorded eight defensive touchdowns that season.
Eli Manning And The Pick 6:
During his 16-year career, Manning threw three pick sixes in a season three times. Never again did he throw multiple in one game again. He played his entire career for the Giants, and during that time, he threw a pick six 22 times. The Giants were 6-16 in those games.
Manning recorded a pick six seven times in the fourth quarter, and five of his 22 were thrown inside his own 20-yard line. He also recorded a pick six three times in a season on three occasions (‘07,’11,’13.) Of his 22, 14 have come on the road, and eight have come at home. During his career, Manning was on the receiving end of two pick sixes from Darren Sharper, the most of any player Manning faced.
The longest return on a pick six thrown by Eli Manning was 101 yards by Bryan McCann in 2010. Eli Manning gave up five returns over 90 yards, and 15 of the pick six he threw were over 30-yard returns. Most of these returns were in the second quarter (9) and the fourth quarter (7.) My final fun fact about Manning and the pick six is that nine of them were go-ahead, but none were to take the lead in the fourth quarter.
Branching Off This Game:
In hindsight, this game didn’t kill the Giants’ season. They still finished 10-6 and made the playoffs, but it certainly wasn’t a confidence builder. They finished the final five games of the year 3-2 and secured the five seed. They traveled to Tampa and took out the Bucs, traveled to Dallas and took out the one-seed Cowboys, and traveled up to Lambeau Field to take out the Packers in a thrilling NFC championship game.
The good news is Manning didn’t throw another pick six the rest of the season, especially during the postseason on his way to Super Bowl MVP. The Giants’ season ended with a Lombardi trophy ending the undefeated bid by the Patriots.
The Vikings missed out on the playoffs by a game, finishing 8-8 after finishing 3-2 over the season’s final five games. With a chance at the postseason on the line, they lost the last two games of the year, and they lost the tiebreaker to the eventual six-seeded Washington Commanders in week 16.
A very different path for both of these teams was created after this game. One team won the Super Bowl, ending a historic season. The other team missed the dance and had to watch from home. But Minnesota can hang their hat on the fact that 15 years ago, they beat the eventual Super Bowl champs in a dominant defensive fashion. A pick-six by three different players.
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