Peyton Manning is a brother that’s a bother. Don’t believe me? Check the scoreboard of the Denver Broncos’ week two 41-23 win over the New York Giants. In the three meetings between Peyton and Eli Manning, Peyton has won all of them. He did it on Sunday with a 307-yard (30-for-43), two touchdown performance.
Brothers share childhood memories and dreams, and in the Mannings’ case, plenty of ego hits to match accompanying bumps and bruises. One Man(ing) had to go home the loser, one had to go home 0-2 on the season. That was the one that threw one touchdown, but four interceptions. I guess that’s what you get when a football gets down on your phone.
This game was by no means all about the Manning brothers, however. It was the Mile High vs. the Museum Mile, the Centennial State vs. the Empire State, the Denver Broncos vs. the New York Giants.
Peyton Manning had a sidekick that could have doubled as a New Jersey tour guide in running back Knowshon Moreno. Knowshon didn’t No-Show in the return to his home state. He had 13 carries for 93 yards and two touchdowns. Yup, that’s a 7.2 yard average. He really carried the Broncos offense on his shoulders, especially after a rough start to the game when rookie Montee Ball fumbled in the end zone. Moreno broke the game open 24-16 with his second touchdown run at the end of the third quarter. It was just the 8th time in franchise history that a player had multiple 20+ yard rushing touchdowns in a game, and it hadn’t been done since Willis McGahee did it in 2011.
The Broncos had only a 10-9 lead at halftime, which is hard to believe given the final score. The team really has put a different spin on Aesop’s Tortoise and the Hare fable. The Broncos put the tortoise mask on to start their games demonstrated by the fact that they haven’t scored a point in the opening quarter this season. Then they take off the mask, let the long ears emerge, and step on the gas. They’ve scored 24, 35, and 31 points in the second, third, and fourth quarters this season, respectively.
For the second week in a row, the Broncos’ defense picked up when the offense did. It’s like there’s a Martha Stewert cooking timer on the sidelines that tells the offense and defense to lay the proverbial frosting on.
The defense forced multiple turnovers, starting with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie when he came up with an interception just before halftime. Then Chris Harris, being the ball magnet that he is, caught one that bounced off of Tony Carter’s heel. Rahim Moore and Carter got in on the act when they each had a pick during the fourth quarter with the game already out of reach. The secondary’s work didn’t stop there. They held the Giants’ big three of Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Rueben Randle to 215 yards combined. That’s after a 333-yard and three touchdown combined effort last week. Consider the potential damage minimized.
The Broncos’ defense up front was stout. They came up with seven tackles for a loss. They easily could have allowed the Giants to score over 40 points, but they limited them to field goals down in the red zone by being physical and stopping the run. The Giants only had 23 rushing yards on 19 carries. You have to wonder if McGahee is looking good to them right about now.
Other highlights include Trindon “Heart Attack” Holliday taking one to the house on an 81-yard punt return. It’s a wonder teams still kick to him.
Eric Decker led the team in receiving with 87 yards on a career-high nine receptions. Wes Welker and Julius Thomas were the recipients of Manning’s two touchdowns. In fact, with Welker’s score, he tied Wayne Chrebet for the 12th most receiving touchdowns (41) by an undrafted played in NFL history.
Heading into the “Manning Bowl III,” a big deal was made of the fact that never in the history of the NFL had two opposing quarterbacks met coming off of 400-yard passing games.
The bigger deal now is that the Broncos won their first road game of the season in New York, and if all goes according to plan, that’s where their last game will be, too.
It’s Super Bowl or bust.