Big brother Manning got the better of his kid sibling, with lots of help from Denver’s one-man ground game.
Peyton Manning didn’t need another record-tying seven touchdown passes Sunday, settling for two in the Broncos’ 41-23 romp over Eli and the Giants.
The older Manning is 3-0 in the NFL against Eli, with the other two victories coming when Peyton was with the Colts. He got this win with a huge boost from Knowshon Moreno, who rushed for two touchdowns and 93 yards on just 13 carries. Denver (2-0), which has won 13 straight regular-season games, ran for 109 yards altogether.
With Manning finding Wes Welker and Julius Thomas for touchdowns, and Moreno scoring on sprints down the right side of 20 and 25 yards, Denver dominated much of the matchup between Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks; Eli has won two titles, Peyton one.
After the rout, the brothers shared a very short handshake while surrounded by a mob of photographers and TV cameras.
Eli Manning was picked off four times — he was intercepted 15 all of last season — and the Giants also allowed Trindon Holliday’s spectacular 81-yard punt return for a touchdown, the first such score in the league this season.
Peyton, who became the third player over 60,000 career yards passing on Denver’s opening drive, connected with a wide-open Welker for a 2-yard score that gave the Broncos a 17-9 lead. But little brother took New York 81 yards in response, although the drive was built more on Broncos blunders — four penalties, including two for pass interference — than Manning magic.
There was plenty more Moreno magic on Denver’s next series, when he again surged around right end to almost duplicate his earlier 20-yard scoring run with a 25-yarder. Considered a backup heading toward the season, Moreno was virtually the entire running game for the Broncos on Sunday — and he made the difference.
Peyton Manning also hit Thomas for an 11-yard score as Denver pulled away in the second half after leading 10-9 at halftime. Da’Rel Scott took a short pass 23 yards for a TD for New York to conclude the Giants’ scoring.
The sloppy first half was marred by eight dropped passes on both sides, including three by Welker. The biggest drop, though, came on a running play when rookie Montee Ball fumbled at the New York 3 to ruin Denver’s drive from its 7 on the opening series. Ryan Mundy recovered in the end zone, with Peyton watching in frustration, his hands on his hips.
Eli Manning then led his team 62 yards, 51 on a pass to Victor Cruz, and Josh Brown made a 36-yard field goal.
Brown added kicks of 24 and 41 yards in the first half.
Denver’s first touchdown came on Moreno’s sprint around right end early in the second quarter, and Matt Prater made a 42-yard field goal 47 seconds before halftime. He added a 47-yarder 2:38 from the end. The Giants have allowed 77 points in two games.
Denver has won 400 games since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. It tied a team record with its seventh straight road victory, even though it drew 13 penalties for 132 yards.