So much has changed for New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning since he led his team to Super Bowl Championships.
Manning has taken most of the heat for the team's descent in the NFL this season. The Giants remained winless after Thursday's 27-21 loss to the Chicago Bears, and the team opened the season 0-6 for the first time since 1976.
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For his part, Manning threw three interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown and another that ended a fourth-quarter rally.
"It's difficult, not on me," he told reporters after the game, according to ESPN
. "I feel bad for my teammates. I feel bad for my coaches, and everybody fighting every day. And I'm fighting too. I'm trying to get a win for these guys. But it's tough. It's definitely tough at times when you don't feel like you're playing your best.
"It's frustrating. I feel like I'm not doing my part to give this team some wins, and some chances, and so that's the frustrating part. I feel like our guys our fighting hard, and guys are doing their parts, and I need to start doing mine."
Manning has thrown a league-high 15 interceptions this season, ahead of Arizona Cardinals' quarterback Carson Palmer, who has nine. Manning has also been sacked nine times, good for third most, which places some blame on the offensive line.
As a team, the Giants have allowed 209 points, 43 more than the 163 surrendered by 0-5 Jacksonville, though the Giants have played one more game.
With the team driving in the game's final minutes on Thursday, Manning threw a pass that bounced off tight end Brandon Myers' fingertips and into the hands of Tim Jennings. Game over.
"You throw a ball six inches too high," Manning said, "and that's the difference between possibly winning the game and a loss. I feel like we're about to drive and win a game, and, you know, I make a mistake."
Manning is even taking flack from the politicians. Hoboken mayoral candidate Tim Occhipinti criticized his play in an open letter to the Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, Eli's older brother. Occhipinti is running in the November election against incumbent mayor Dawn Zimmer, who Eli Manning has publicly endorsed.
"In the past few weeks since baby brother agreed to throw his hat into Hoboken politics, and agreed to attend our opponent's fundraiser; the Giants have lost every game, and Eli has had a very tough go of it," Occhipinti wrote in the letter. "We are not sure whether it's the (16) sacks he has endured that made his off the field political decision-making questionable -- or if the (15) interceptions this year show that he is making questionable decisions on and off the field."
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