Dan Rather ain't all that impressed by the Giants' win Monday night -- he thinks they're still awful ... but he's happy as hell for Eli Manning!!
The CBS News legend watched Eli turn back the clock on 'MNF' ... leading a game-winning TD drive over the 49ers late in the 4th quarter -- and dude couldn't have been more proud of the QB.
"I'll tell you what, whatever you think of the Giants -- and they are terrible -- I love Eli Manning," Rather tells TMZ Sports.
Dan says Eli reminds him a little bit of himself ... saying he too is an aging legend on the back 9 of his career -- and he understands exactly what the QB is going through.
"As an anchorman on the fade, on the way out, you say to yourself, 'I'm not as good as I once was. But, for once, I'm as good as I ever was.' That was Eli Manning last night against San Francisco."
Dan says he thinks the Giants should not only continue to roll with Eli this season -- he wants to see him under center NEXT season too.
Only thing he's asking the G-Men to do for Eli in the meantime?? JUST BLOCK FOR THE MAN ALREADY!!!