Manning and Brady Face Off Again

The Rivalry Continues: Brady vs Manning

10/5/12 in NFL   |   Andrew_Ericksen   |   230 respect

Blog Photo - Manning and Brady Face Off AgainWhat if Tom Brady were surrounded by the Colts offense and what if Peyton Manning had a reliable defense?  That was the question I pondered on countless occasions during the early-mid 2000s.  Manning was clearly the glue to the Colts offense, but his supporting cast of Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Stokley, Edgerrin James, and Dallas Clark was something exceptional.  On the other hand, Brady had a defense led by the likes of Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Rodney Harrison, Ty Law, and Richard Seymour.  It was obviously a question we’d never get an answer to, but I always wondered whether swapping their respective roles would result in a shift of Super Bowl dominance and overall legacy.  But of course, we will never know, we can just continue to raise the questions.
 
Luckily for all of us still debating the great QB dilemma, our favorite rivalry will return this week after a hiatus of nearly two years.  Denver travels to New England on Sunday and for the first time ever, Manning will face the Patriots wearing something other than the blue and white horseshoe.
 
In anticipation for this momentous occasion, let’s quickly relive the storied rivalry, from their first matchup in September 2001 until November 2010’s most recent meeting.
 
During Brady’s first season as a starter, the Patriots hosted the Colts in week 3.  It was Peyton’s fourth year as a starter, and despite having a solid season overall, Manning and the Colts were dominated in New England, losing 44-13.  Manning threw for under 200 yards, 1 Touchdown, and 3 picks (two returned for touchdowns) while Brady was an underwhelming but efficient 13-23 for 168 yards (New England had 3 rushing TDs and 3 Viniateri kicks).
 
September 30 2012; Denver, CO, USA;  Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 37-6. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIREThat matchup pretty much set the tone for the next 4 years of Patriots/Colts football.  In Brady’s first 4 years as a starter, he was 6-0 against the Colts overall, 2-0 in the playoffs.  In those 6 games, the Patriots outscored the Colts 191-105.
 
Then, after that 2004/2005 divisional series 20-3 win over the Colts, a stepping-stone on Brady’s way to his third Super Bowl ring, the tide began to shift.
 
In November 2005, Manning recorded his first ever win against Brady, a 40-21 Colts victory where Manning threw for 321 yards, 3 TDs, and an Interception.  The Colts also took 3 of the next 5 after that (not including the Matt Cassel start in 2008).
 
We all know what each player represents.  Manning has the stat sheet that few others in the history of the league can touch.  He’s one of 3 players with over 400 passing touchdowns and third all-time in passing yards.  Brady, on the other hand, holds the single-season passing touchdown record with 50 (besting Manning’s 2004 mark by just one) and is one of only 4 Quarterbacks with 3 or more Super Bowl victories (and only Elway has played in as many Super Bowls).
 
This Sunday, the rivalry continues in an extremely important matchup for both teams, as the winner improves to 3-2 and the loser falls to 2-3. 
 
Which future Hall-of-Famer wins this round?
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