Peyton, Colts hold 31-7 lead over Giants

BY foxsports • September 20, 2010

The Indianapolis Colts are still getting the better of Peyton Manning's younger brother.

After Eli Manning finally got the Giants on the scoreboard with a 54-yard TD pass to Mario Manningham, the Colts recovered Eli's second fumble in the end zone, giving Indy a 31-7 lead over New York after three quarters Sunday night.

It was a miserable night for Eli, who was 8 of 16 for 101 yards with one interception. He also was sacked twice and lost two fumbles. The second fumble came when Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney knocked the ball loose near the Giants' goal line. It then rolled into the end zone where Fili Moala recovered it.

Meanwhile, the older brother was especially efficient in Manning Bowl II.

He threw two first-half TD passes, including a 50-yarder to Dallas Clark, and led the Colts on four scoring drives in the first two quarters as he got plenty of time to work. It was a major improvement over the season opener when Manning hit the ground 13 times.

Peyton was aided in large part by a suddenly strong ground game. Joseph Addai and Donald Brown ran 28 times for 144 yards through three quarters. Addai's 88 yards rushing were his most in any game since he had 105 against Houston on Nov. 16, 2008.

But the Giants' offensive ineptitude was the far bigger problem for New York.

The Giants had only five first downs in the first half, when Eli went 3 of 8 for 17 yards, and one of those came off a pass-interference penalty.

Things got so bad that at one point during the third quarter a frustrated Brandon Jacobs started to throw his helmet down when it slipped and unintentionally went into the stands. Security personnel had to retrieve the helmet, and Jacobs appeared to be explaining to coach Tom Coughlin what happened.

And they still had to contend with Peyton on the field.

After Peyton hooked up with Clark for their 43rd career TD connection - tying the second most in league history among quarterback and tight ends - Eli tried to outdo his older brother.

Bad choice.

Eli's 57-yard throw was deflected by safety Antoine Bethea, went through the hands of Steve Smith and was intercepted by Jerraud Powers at the Indy 23. Peyton then took the Colts 42 yards in eight plays to set up Adam Vinatieri for a 38-yard field goal with 5 minutes left in the half.

Peyton was just warming up. After Robert Mathis stripped the ball on a sack, and Eric Foster recovered, Peyton found Austin Collie for a 3-yard TD pass with 9 seconds left in the half.

Peyton was 17 of 23 for 199 yards with two TDs through three quarters, and Eli certainly didn't expect the game to be this lopsided.

''It's my seventh year in this offense now so, it's been a great week,'' he told NBC before kickoff. ''It's been less stressful than the first time when you had five months of press dealing before this game instead of one week. It's been a little bit more enjoyable for Peyton and I.''

This is the second time the Super Bowl-winning brothers have faced one another during their NFL careers. Peyton won the first matchup 26-21 in 2006, the same season he won the Super Bowl. The brothers shook hands twice at midfield, before and after the coin toss, and exchanged greetings as they arrived on time for the game - unlike the NBC commercial in which Peyton wound up locked in a closet.

Their parents, Archie and Olivia, were expected to watch from a box at Lucas Oil Stadium. The oldest Manning brother, Cooper, did not attend.

Indy played without receiver Anthony Gonzalez (sprained ankle), safety Bob Sanders (torn biceps muscle) and starting linebacker Clint Session (hamstring).

New York also was short-handed. Starting tackle Will Beatty (broken foot), tight end Kevin Boss (concussion) and special teams Chase Blackburn (right knee) were all deactivated for the game.

Indy is 6-1 in its past seven home openers and is trying to avoid its first 0-2 start since 1998 - Peyton's rookie season.

Clark, Reggie Wayne and Peyton Manning were all looking for milestone achievements, too. Manning and Wayne needed to hook up for one TD pass to tie John Unitas and Raymond Berry (63) for the second-highest scoring combination in franchise history. The four-time league MVP and Marvin Harrison hold the NFL record with 112 TD passes.

Manning and Clark are now tied with Sonny Jurgensen and Jerry Smith (43) for second in league history. Only New England's Drew Bledsoe and Ben Coates, who had 45, have more.

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