Manning hopes for better protection as he returns to San Francisco

Manning was sacked six times by the Niners in the NFC Championship game.

Eli Manning was so battered in last year’s NFC Championship game that he not only became a sympathetic figure among sports fans who had no rooting interest in the game, but he was finally acknowledged as an elite quarterback for the way he constantly got back up to fight.

Manning has only been sacked four times this season — that’s two less than the amount of times the 49ers (4-1) sacked him in the championship game last January.

But as prestigious as that day was, Manning’s teammates, specifically his offensive linemen, hope he doesn’t have to endure another Sunday like that one.  

“That game was certainly something we’ve thought about,” said guard Chris Snee. “Even though we won the Super Bowl and we beat them in that game, we still walked away saying that we didn’t play well [and] we didn’t do our job up front. … That can motivate you throughout the offseason.”    

Center David Baas, who came over from San Francisco as a free agent last summer, said he’s also taken that game to heart.   

“We need to go out there and do a better job. They have a good defense [and] you’ve got to give them credit [because] they touched Eli way too many times,” Baas said, referring to the 12 additional times Niners defenders hit Manning. “That’s something that we have to focus on. They pride themselves on stopping the run, so we have to build on what we did last week and just do the right things this week. … We have to execute our game plan.”

Manning, for his part, remained unfazed about the last time the two teams played. The unflappable quarterback, who went 32-of-58 for 316 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, simply shrugged when reliving the game in his mind.
 
“We also had 64 drop backs,” Manning said matter-of-factly. “You throw the ball that many times, you’re going to take hits. Hopefully, we can have a good balance of the run and pass. …  You’re going to get hit sometimes playing quarterback. You don’t worry about that. Hopefully, you’ll have enough time to get the ball out for the routes to develop, and guys are getting open.”

Manning did, however, show some emotion when discussing the physicality of San Francisco’s defense.    

“They’re up there. They’re very good. Their front seven is talented, they have good corners, their safeties come up and tackle and hit. So, they’re good all over the field,” Manning said. “Each player is going to have to win their individual battles, and do a good job of blocking and receivers getting open, and running backs making guys miss.”

The Giants’ offensive line has been stellar in pass protection since allowing three sacks in their opening night loss to Dallas. In the four games since, Manning has been sacked just once, in a victory at Carolina, and not at all the last two games.    

Ultimately, no matter how great a quarterback is, he’s only as good as his offensive linemen and supporting cast. So, for the five guys protecting their franchise player, they can only hope their names aren’t called too often and their signal caller stays off the muddy Candlestick Park turf.    

“I guess in an ideal world, you guys [media] would still be questioning [Manning’s] toughness because he wouldn’t have gotten hit, but it’s just one of those things,” guard Kevin Boothe said. “It’s football. He’s a tough guy; we know he’s a tough guy, but we like for him to hide his toughness. So hopefully he doesn’t get hit like that ever again.”
   
Big Blue notes
  
» Running back Andre Brown (concussion) did not practice on Thursday. Defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (quadriceps) and safety Kenny Phillips (knee) were seen only on the stationary bikes. They did not practice Wednesday either.
 
» Tight end Martellus Bennett (knee) started practice working off to the side with the trainers, appearing to test his hyperextended knee. He later joined individual drills, catching a few passes.
 
» Cornerback Corey Webster (hand/hamstring) and linebacker Chase Blackburn (hip) returned to individual drills after sitting out Wednesday’s session. Wideout Ramses Barden (concussion), linebackers Keith Rivers (hamstring) and Michael Boley (hip), right tackle David Diehl (knee), cornerback Jayron Hosley (hamstring) and safety Antrel Rolle (knee) were also seen working while the media were out on the practice field.   

» The 49ers’ defense has yielded just three points in their last two games. They are ranked second in the NFL in total defense (the Giants are ranked second offensively), and their run defense is among the league’s best, allowing only 81.4 yards per game. The Giants are well aware that the 49ers’ defense will present a formidable obstacle. In two trips to the Bay area last year, the Giants were unable to rush for 100 yards. They had 93 yards on the ground in a regular-season game loss on Nov. 13 and 85 yards in their title game.

Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sister of accused Boston Marathon bombers arrested for…

The sister of the accused Boston Marathon bombers was arrested in New York City for threatening a woman over the phone, saying she could "put a bomb on you," police…

Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Labor Day in NYC: Make the last weekend…

Soon, it’ll be time for wool accessories and knee-high boots. Even the Pumpkin Spice Latte has already arrived — but we still have one last…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…