Colts display superior manpower
INDIANAPOLIS — Big brother Peyton showed Eli who rules America’s first family of quarterbacks.
Manning Matchup II was no contest.
Four-time league MVP Peyton Manning threw for three touchdowns, leading the Indianapolis Colts to a surprisingly easy 38-14 victory over his kid brother and the New York Giants last night. He didn’t need to do all that much thanks to the way Indianapolis’s running backs, offensive line, and defense gouged the Giants.
One week after a distressingly lopsided loss at Houston, the Colts (1-1) looked like defending AFC champions. They made Eli Manning and his team resemble amateurs, forcing two quarterback fumbles that gave Indianapolis 14 points.
The Mannings chatted during warm-ups and met at midfield for the coin toss, twice shaking hands, but otherwise they could have been total strangers. There were no signs of Peyton wincing on the sideline — or father Archie cringing in the stands — while Eli was being pummeled.
Eli was hugged by both parents after the loss and refused to address the matchup after the game.
“We couldn’t get into a rhythm,’’ he said. “The whole first half, when you can’t get first downs, it’s hard as an offense to get into all your plays and your calls, and a lot of three-and-outs.
“They outplayed us, and that’s what it came down to.’’
Indianapolis was unrelenting on the pass rush, unnerving the younger Manning and forcing a fumble on Robert Mathis’s sack late in the second quarter. That’s not the kind of break you give the Colts, and big brother threw for 43 yards on a TD drive that ended with Austin Collie’s 3-yard reception with nine seconds left in the half. That made it 24-0.
Eli nearly was sacked on the first play of the second half, but then showed some resilience by taking New York 87 yards for its first score. He hit Mario Manningham for a 54-yard touchdown against a blitz.
But Dwight Freeney sacked the New York QB on the next series, and Fili Moala rolled into the end zone with the loose ball. Giants coach Tom Coughlin just shook his head in frustration while Eli Manning dejectedly trudged to the sideline.
Freeney and Mathis each had two sacks.
“We go into every game thinking this is what it is going to be,’’ Freeney said. “I think as a player you have to think that way, that we are going to shut these guys down. It doesn’t happen every week, obviously . . . it’s not surprising.’’
It clearly wasn’t just Peyton over Eli that decided this ballyhooed game, however. Indianapolis’s ability to run over the Giants (1-1) was just as crucial.
Joseph Addai, who gained 44 yards at Houston, nearly doubled that in the first half with 80 yards rushing. Donald Brown added 44, and by game’s end they accumulated 156.
They keyed an 80-yard drive to open things, getting 33 yards on seven carries, with Brown surging through a huge hole on the left side for his 7-yard TD.
Indianapolis never backed off as Addai and Brown alternated dominating New York’s defense, particularly on a 98-yard march capped by Peyton Manning’s perfect lob to Dallas Clark.
“This was a different kind of game for me,’’ Peyton admitted. “The run really was the ticket tonight.’’
All the while, Eli Manning was looking like a lost younger brother. He wound up 13 for 24 for 161 yards, and Peyton finished 20 of 26 for 255 yards.