Kansas City, Mo. The greatest offensive line in the world couldn’t have protected Eli Manning from this injury.
All the New York Giants quarterback did was drop back to pass, something he’s done how many thousands of times?
Suddenly, he felt pain in his right heel. He stayed in for one more play, a short pass to Hakeem Nicks which the rookie turned into a beauty of a 54-yard touchdown play in a 27-16 victory over Kansas City.
But now Manning and the Giants will have to wait to see if a worrisome bruised right heel will let him play Sunday against Oakland.
“It was a noncontact. It just happened into the drop,” said Manning, who threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns as the Giants (4-0) won their third road game in a row. “It was the play before the touchdown, where I had Steve Smith deep and threw it a little short.”
Manning was replaced by David Carr, but said he expects to be ready for the next game.
“I always assume I’m going to play, that I’m going to be out there,” he said. “I’ve always been a pretty quick healer. I’ll be doing everything I can possibly do this week to get healthy and prepared to play Oakland. We’ll find out more tomorrow. I can walk around and move around, but there is some discomfort.”
Manning threw threw two scoring passes to Smith, who totaled 134 yards on 11 catches, as the Chiefs (0-4) lost for the 27th time in 29 games.
“We’ve got to stick together as a team, which I think our guys are doing very well,” said Chiefs coach Todd Haley. “We’ve got to pull together and start becoming a team much like that team across the field from us today.”
In the final minutes, Matt Cassel threw two short scoring passes that made the final score unreflective of how badly the Giants outplayed their hapless hosts.
From the first quarter, when Jamaal Charles fumbled the opening kickoff and Manning converted it into a quick TD, this battle between occupants of opposite ends of the NFL standings never seemed in doubt. After going 0-for-11 in third-down conversions the week before against Philadelphia, the Chiefs were 2 for 15.
“Change is not fun,” said Haley. “We’ve got to be better in all areas.”
The Chiefs have lost their first four games for the first time since 1980.
A 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on safety Jarrad Page for a hit on Smith helped put the Giants in position for their second TD, Manning’s 25-yard pass to Smith.
Lawrence Tynes, a former Chief, kicked field goals of 25 and 40 yards for New York.
Bryan Kehl, who recovered Charles’ fumble of the opening kickoff, was again in the right spot when the Chiefs tried an onside kick to open the second half. He pounced on the ball and a few minutes later, Tynes’ 40-yarder put the Giants on top 20-3 with 10:22 left in the third quarter.
Ryan Succop kicked a 33-yard field goal in the first quarter for the Chiefs, but that was the end of their scoring until Cassel’s 1-yard scoring pass to Sean Ryan late in the fourth quarter. With 4:54 left, Cassel tossed a 2-yard TD pass to Bobby Wade.
Brandon Jacobs had 92 yards on 21 carries for the Giants, who rolled up 429 yards while holding the Chiefs to 193.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Manning could not have stayed in the game.
“Not at that point. He didn’t leave the bench, so I’m sure whatever is going to be done is going to be here from here on out,” Coughlin said. “I think he’s going to be sore. I really don’t know a whole more than that.”
Notes: Chiefs are in the middle of a four-week section through the NFC East, with Dallas and Washington to go. ... Giants’ two first-quarter turnovers were their first in three games. ... Giants and Seattle are the only teams to play three straight on the road this year.