The wolf is at the door.
Rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta was activated for the first time this season by the Giants on Sunday. After the first half Eli Manning posted with a 29.8 QB rating, anything was possible.
Manning, who ended the day with a 65.2 rating, and the Giants survived to come away with a resilient 30-27 overtime win over the Bears at a soggy MetLife Stadium.
Chicago put up 10 points in the final 1:15 of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 27. The Giants appeared disaster-bound once again.
But the winning points came on a 44-yard OT field goal by Aldrick Rosas after Manning thought he was connecting on what would have been a 26-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard — but Shepard could not complete the catch.
“I thought we were going to have a walk-off touchdown to Shep when I let the ball go,’’ Manning said. “I put it right where I wanted it. He said he lost it in the lights a little bit.’’
That’s the way the season has gone for Manning, a lost-in-the-lights year.
The Giants managed to push across three points on Rosas’ 57-yard field goal at the end of the first half, thanks to Saquon Barkley’s relentless 22-yard run that put them in field-goal position to pull within 14-10.
That play helped establish a second-half plan that changed the course of the game, for both Manning and the Giants.
“They had a good plan the first half,’’ Manning said of the bruising Bears second-ranked points-per-game defense.
“They got us into some trouble with good coverages for some of our plays,’’ Manning said. “In the second half we just made an emphasis to run the ball. They were really challenging us and taking away the pass. I think we were able to run the ball and got into some third and manageable situations. And came up with a couple of big plays.’’
Giants coach Pat Shurmur said of Manning, who lofted a 1-yard touchdown pass to Odell Beckham Jr. late in the third quarter, “I think we just got to get to some of the things he can do. We ought to always be able to lean on the run here and I think that if we can keep it kind of a run, play-action type setting, I think that’s good for any quarterback.’’
More Barkley works wonders. So did a trick play that resulted in a 49-yard TD pass from OBJ to Russell Shepard down the middle early in the third quarter, finally giving the Giants offense a wow-factor play.
All week the Giants had practiced the pass by Beckham, but with one big difference, Eli noted.
“We tried to hit the corner routes,’’ Manning said. “Russell made something up and Odell hit him for a TD. Sometimes you have to draw it up in the dirt.
“It was the old 60-yard check down.”
Shurmur praised the Giants’ resiliency and toughness, saying that is part of the change in culture he is trying to institute for his 4-8 team that has won three of its past four games.
These past 15 years Manning (19-of-35, 170 yards, one TD, one interception) has been the living, breathing example of resiliency and toughness. After having to change the way he plays because of so many offensive-line issues the past few years, Manning has taken a turn for the worse but this was nonetheless a winning Sunday.
In John Feinstein’s new book “Quarterback,’’ veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick sums up the position.
“When things go well, everyone loves you,’’ Fitzpatrick said. “When they don’t, people fall out of love in a hurry.’’
Many Giants fans have fallen out of love with Eli Manning. Will he continue to try to survive as a starting QB?
After the Beckham TD throw, Manning had to do something he hasn’t done.
“I have never been in that situation where someone else throws it and they are behind you,’’ Manning explained of his OBJ celebratory jump.
Change is good, especially when the wolf is at the door.