Peyton Manning once again got the better of his younger brother Eli Manning in the third installment of “The Manning Bowl.”
In a matchup between two of the NFL’s top quarterbacks, Peyton outdueled Eli’s New York Giants as “Big Blue” dropped to 0-2 on the season in a 41-23 home-opening loss on Sunday.
''For me, it's a strange feeling,'' Peyton said. ''It's not quite as enjoyable as if you beat somebody else.''
Sure, Eli has more Super Bowl titles than his older brother, but in the head-to-head matchup, Peyton now boasts a perfect 3-0 record.
The Giants, coming off a tough 36-31 loss at Dallas a week earlier, had hoped to build on all the hoopla surrounding the marquee matchup. Instead, it was Eli that struggled for the second straight week, throwing four interceptions while completing 28 of 39 attempts for 362 yards. New York has committed 10 turnovers through the first two weeks of the season, with Eli accounting for seven of them being picked off.
“I think we’ll bounce back and I thought there were some good things,” Eli said. “I think we’ll keep fighting and get back on track. I know everybody in our division lost today, so the way we can look at it, we’re one game back in the division. We’ve got to get back to winning some games.”
The Giants kept the game close in the first half, limiting the high-scoring Broncos to one offensive touchdown on a Knowshon Moreno 20 yard scamper. But New York only mustered three field goals to keep within striking distance at the break, trailing 10-9.
Brandon Jacobs, whom the Giants re-signed earlier in the week in an effort to boost “Big Blue’s” backfield, scored on a 1-yard run early in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 17-16.
But turnovers, along with a special teams miscue allowed the Broncos to seize control. Peyton hooked up with Wes Welker and Julius Thomas for a pair of touchdowns in the third and fourth quarter, respectively. The big blow came midway through the final period on an 81-yard game-sealing punt return for a touchdown by the Broncos’ Trindon Holliday, stretching the visitors lead to 37-16.
Peyton, who tied an NFL record with seven TD passes in an opening-night victory against the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, finished 30 of 43 for 307 yards and two TD’s.
Giants’ receiver Victor Cruz recorded his second straight 100-yard receiving game, catching eight passes for 118 yards.
''It's very disappointing, frustrating,'' Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. ''We have 14 games to go. We have been 0-2 before. We dug ourselves into a hole before and been able to fight our way out of it. When we did it was with team, but the performance level has to come up.”
There is hope for Giants fans. The last time New York started the season 0-2 was during their historic Super Bowl run in 2007. They next head south to Carolina for what should be a “winnable” matchup against Cam Newton and the Panthers next Sunday.
Watch game highlights here.