Eli wraps Manning sweep of Saints

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The first two series of Sunday’s game with the New Orleans Saints didn’t go the way New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning would have liked.

The Giants wasted David Wilson’s 58-yard kickoff return to open the game when they had to punt after three plays, and the second possession ended the way the first one should have — with an interception.

Manning got away with one on the first series when a pass intended for Domenik Hixon went through the hands of Saints cornerback Jabari Greer, but teammate Elbert Mack didn’t miss and returned a pick 73 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 9:38 left in the first
period.

But Manning responded with four touchdown passes even though he was later intercepted in the third quarter by safety Isa Abdul-Quddus in the Giants’ 52-27 victory in MetLife Stadium.

The interception by Abdul-Quddus didn’t sting nearly as much, however, as the Giants had built a substantial lead by then after outscoring the Saints, 35-6, following Mack’s touchdown.

“Obviously, we had a good little lead there for a little bit,” Manning said after connecting on 22 of 35 passes for 259 yards. “Their offense is high-powered, and they fought back. But when they scored, obviously, we responded right back.”

After the Saints got back in it on two Darren Sproles touchdowns, the Giants scored 17 fourth-quarter points — with one score coming on Manning’s fourth TD of the day — to put the Saints away.

The victory completed a sweep for the Manning brothers of their hometown team this season.

Peyton Manning led the Denver Broncos to a 34-14 win over the Saints on Oct. 28 in Denver.

Of the four touchdowns, Eli Manning pointed to a 5-yard throw to Hixon in the back of the end zone with 20 seconds to play in the first half as perhaps the most important because the Saints had just pulled to within 14-13.

“It was a big play for us, right before halftime,” Eli Manning said.

“That gave us an eight-point lead going into halftime.”