Manning Bowl III, as it had been dubbed, took place Sunday afternoon in MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands after much anticipation and fanfare. When the Manning brothers are together they are notorious hams, but yesterday they talked turkey instead.
Peyton Manning came into this game with the upper hand on his younger brother Eli, thanks to their prior two meetings where Peyton’s Colts emerged victorious both times. For those with a certain craving for more advanced stats and speculation, ESPN posted an in-depth study of the two QB’s and their play in those games, as well as their careers.
Yesterday’s game figured to be a shoot-out—gunslingers Peyton and Eli with plenty of offensive weapons at their respective disposals—and the early state of affairs mirrored those figurings.
On the first possession of the game, Peyton Manning and his Broncos galloped down the field, and Peyton threw for an efficient seven of eight and 88 yards. But alas, the initial charge was stone-walled by their rookie running back Montee Ball, who turned it over at the goal line, resulting in a Giants’ touchback.
Eli took over from there, unleashing a bomb on a deep post to Victor Cruz for a cool 51-yard chunk of turf on his first toss of the day. Although the Giants ended that drive with a field goal, the tone of this game seemed to have been set officially.
Despite air raid expectations however, the first half concluded with a modest tally of 10-9 in favor of the Broncos, with only four field goals and a touchdown between the teams—and that score came on the ground.
After a Giants three-and-out began the second half, Peyton finally lifted off, capping a nine-play, 53-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown strike to slot-man Wes Welker to extend the lead to eight. But the Giants fought back, finishing the ensuing drive with freshly re-signed battering ram Brandon Jacobs crossing the end zone plane for his first score back with the team.
Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno responded with a 25-yard run of his own, his second score of the game. After intercepting a struggling Eli Manning on the next drive, and at his own 36 yard line, the Broncos doubled up on the Giants with an 11-yard touchdown reception by basketballer-turned-tightend Julius Thomas—and they would not look back.
The Broncos trampled the Giants 41-23.
Needless to say, Peyton got the better of Eli once again, finishing with both a resounding win and a strong line of 307 yards passing and two touchdowns. Eli finished with 362 yards passing, a lone touchdown, and a disappointing four interceptions, three of which occurred in the end zone.
Peyton tied Drew Brees and Charley Johnson for an NFL record nine touchdown passes through the first two games of the year, both wins, while Eli has a whopping seven interceptions and no wins.
It’s fair to say that, when it comes to the regular season, Peyton has Eli’s number. But the glitz and glamour emanating from the fruit of Eli’s superior Super Bowl labor, namely his rings, would surely blind Peyton if he dares to stare too long.
- Vikings rookie first-rounder Cordarelle Patterson returned the opening kick-off 105 yards for a touchdown against the Bears’ not-so-special-teamers for his first career NFL touchdown.
- Aaron Rodgers, an obvious robot, had a first half to remember against the Redskins, going 26/31 for 335 yards passing and three touchdowns. Rodgers finished with 480 pass yards and four touchdowns. Also of note, for the first time in team history, the Packers had a 400-yard passer and a 100-yard rusher (James Starks) in the same game.
- Futility Bowl 2013: Panthers vs. Bills. If you were there you were square. The Bills haven’t made the playoffs since 1999, while the Panthers haven’t made it since 2008. It is notable that, going into the game, the Bills had amassed a record of 22-43 over the past five seasons, while the Panthers could boast of an almost equally hideous 23-42 record over the same time span. But the Bills pulled this one out at home, 24-23, on a touchdown pass from rookie QB EJ Manuel to wide-out Stevie Johnson with two seconds left on the clock. The result brought the futility of the last five dreary seasons even in the win-loss column for both sides.
- The Battle of the Brow—or Kaepernicked: Second year QBs Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson faced off on Sunday Night Football, the latter winning out. Prior to this week’s game, a humorous Madden commercial aired depicting the two betting an eyebrow on the game. While clearly tongue-in-cheek, one can say with certainty that if the QBs did go through with the bet, that only one of them would have been raising an eyebrow at game’s end. Let’s just hope that stakes set this high will become a real trend in the NFL hereafter.