Originally posted on Big Giants Boom  |  Last updated 12/16/11

by Adam Carman, BGB Assistant Editor

Eli Manning has more than earned the title of comeback king this season. Five of the Giants' six wins have come with dramatic 4th-quarter comebacks by Eli Manning. This past week was only the most recent, however; Manning has been delivering when the chips were down for years. If the NFC didn't contain Aaron Rodgers, and Giants fans weren't blind to greatness until after retirement, he'd be leading the Pro Bowl balloting and in the NFL MVP discussion, as our own Jim Mancari so ably put it. In honor of Eli, therefore, the Big Giants Boom offers this trip down memory lane: Eli Manning's top five comebacks.

5. Week 7, 2005: Comeback win against the Denver Broncos. The Broncos were playing well. At the start of the 4th quarter, they led the hometown Giants 23-10, and it was 23-17 with less than three minutes to go. ESPN remembers, "With less than a full season as a starter under his belt, Eli Manning is already developing a flair for the dramatic finish." They had no idea. The week before, Manning had driven the Giants the length of the football field to tie Dallas before the Giants lost the game 16-13 in overtime. This time, he made sure he got it done. Backpedaling furiously from the Broncos 2, Manning lofted a desperation pass and hit Amani Toomer in the back corner of the endzone for a shocking 24-23 victory that snapped a five-game winning streak for the Broncos, their longest since 2000, and started the Giants march towards an NFC East title and their first playoff appearance since 2002.

4. I can't get out without mentioning Super Bowl XLII. Now, thanks to a defense that ranks with the best of all-time, Manning never had to deal with significant deficits in this game. But what he did face with 2:42 left in the game was a Patriots team that hadn't lost a game all season, and had never lost on the Super Bowl stage. Every Giants fan knows the story: Eli's unflappable poise on football's greatest stage; the magnificent catch by David Tyree after Eli shrugged off three sacks; the third down conversion by rookie Steve Smith and the touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left to pin the 2007 Patriots forever at 18-1. This drive went down in Giants' and Super Bowl lore and helped cement Manning's reputation for late-game heroics. The defensive efforts had kept the game close but as the seconds ticked down, it was the quarterback that won the game.

3. Week 17, 2004, First Career Win (vs. Dallas): I was not always a Manning fan. I liked Kurt Warner and didn't want to wait for Eli to blossom like Peyton. When he took a 5-4 playoff team to 5-10 laughingstock, I thought my suspicions were confirmed. Then came week 17 and a home date with the Dallas Cowboys. For 3 3/4 quarters, the Cowboys outplayed the Giants as everyone had since Manning took over. With just over ninety seconds left, the Giants had the ball on their own 30 yard line and trailed Dallas 24-21. Ninety seconds proved to be just enough for the young quarterback who had already shown flares against Cincinnati and the 15-1 Pittsburgh Steelers. The game ended with a stunning Giants victory, 28-24, and gave us all a taste of what was to come.

2. Week 2, 2006, at Philadelphia. The Giants had a good opening drive, capped by a 30-yard touchdown pass to Amani Toomer for an early lead. But thereafter bad offensive line play and the inability of the defense to get off the field had New York staring down the business end of a 24-7 deficit as the 4th quarter wound down. Manning refused to panic, however, even as late turnovers made the situation desperate. Buoyed by Eli's confidence and the over-confidence of Donovan McNabb, the Giants rallied to tie the game at 24 on Jay Feeley's field goal. Suddenly the raucous crowd was quiet. In the eerie silence, in overtime, Eli Manning found Plaxico Burress behind the Eagles defense for the score and a 30-24 OT victory against our most hated divisional rival.

1. Week 14, 2011, at Dallas. Is this guy actually saying that this past week was the greatest comeback of Eli Manning's career. Yes, indeed, you read that right. I have always had the utmost faith in Eli Manning. Even in Super Bowl XLII I said, "He's got this. The Patriots left too much time." But facing a deficit of 12 with just over five minutes to play, I admit I doubted. Not so much Eli as the strength of the defense, but two touchdowns in that time is a lot to ask. As we all know, Manning did it. After bringing the game within five with a touchdown pass to tight end Jake Ballard and then after a strong defensive stand and Tony Romo's usual late-game incompetence, Manning had another shot, which he took utmost advantage of. If the Giants do accomplish anything this season, it's going to be because of their all-star quarterback and their undeniable MVP.
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