Big Brother Wins But Little Brother Shines Too
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.--In Manning Bowl I, Peyton got the victory but Eli demonstrated that he isn't far away from being one of the league's very best quarterbacks.
The Indianapolis Colts, quarterbacked by older brother Peyton Manning, beat the New York Giants of younger brother Eli Manning, 26-21, here Sunday night in the duo's heavily promoted first NFL matchup.
Peyton threw for 276 yards and a touchdown, with one interception. Eli threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception and one lost fumble. Little brother's performance drew effusive praise from big brother.
"It was certainly a different feeling out there, but it was a great ballgame," Peyton Manning said late Sunday night in the bowels of Giants Stadium. "We felt offensively challenged to move the ball and score points. Eli played his butt off. He made some big throws. There was some tight coverage on those touchdowns and he put the ball where his guys could make the plays."
Eli began his third NFL season--and second as a full-time starter--with a good showing in a heavily scrutinized game filled with conflicting emotions for the members of the Manning family. Father Archie Manning looked drained after the game as he stood outside the Giants' locker room, like he hadn't enjoyed the experience at all. Even the usually unflappable Peyton acknowledged that he'd gotten caught up in the moment after passing Eli on the field hours before kickoff.
"I found myself watching him in warmups, peeking at him during the national anthem," Peyton said. "That was pretty neat. I was thinking, 'That's my little brother over there.' "
Immediately afterward, Eli congratulated Peyton on the win and Peyton told Eli that he loved him and was proud of how he competed.
The game perhaps turned on a questionable offensive pass interference call against Giants wide receiver Tim Carter with just more than four minutes remaining and the Colts leading by 23-21. Carter caught a third-and-two pass from Eli Manning for a 19-yard gain to the Giants 37-yard line. The Giants would have had a first down and plenty of momentum. But Carter was called for a pushoff that it appeared he didn't commit. The Giants instead faced a third-and-11 predicament from their 9, and Manning threw a poor pass over the middle that was intercepted by cornerback Nick Harper. That led to the fourth field goal of the night by Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, and the Giants ran out of time on their final drive.
"There were some things that were out of player control," Giants defensive end Michael Strahan said.
Eli called the throw he made for the interception "just a bad decision," and added: "I threw it to the right guy. You just can't float it with the safety out there. You've got to throw it on a line drive."
Still, he didn't do too much else wrong. He wasn't sacked by a Colts defense that has two of the league's top pass rushers, ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.
"Freeney's frustrated," Peyton Manning said. "I just talked to him and he was saying how quick Eli is with the ball, how he knows how to step up into the right places. Freeney is the best in the league. When he can't get you, you're doing things right."
Peyton concluded: "Somebody had to win this game. The thing is, the Colts beat the Giants. I never got into that [Manning] Bowl stuff. We didn't even get the gear. That was the thing for [college] bowl games was to get some watches and stuff. We didn't get any of that."
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Posted by: LJ | September 11, 2006 2:03 PM
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