Sunday night marked the fourteenth matchup between Manning and Brady. It took a truly amazing performance from Brady to overcome three early turnovers and bring his record against Manning to 10 wins and 4 losses. Heading into halftime the Patriots found themselves down 24 to 0. After the third quarter kick-off Brady marched the Patriots down the field and threw his first passing touchdown of the game, a 5 yard pass to Julian Edelman. The Patriots went on to score 24 more unanswered points and take a 7 point lead with 7:41 left in the game. With 3:10 left in the game Manning hit Demaryius Thomas for an 11 yard touchdown, tying the game up and sending it into overtime. Both quarterbacks had a chance to win the game in overtime but it was Brady that successfully drove his team down the field and setup Gostkowski for the game winning 31 yard field goal.
History of the Rivalry
Part One: Brady Dominates
Brady and Manning first met in 2001 after Brady had replaced the injured Drew Bledsoe. Brady went on to win his first three regular season games against Manning. If the rivalry was just starting to bud at this point, it bloomed into a flower during the 2003 AFC championship game. Manning had a dreadful game, he threw for one touchdown and four interceptions. While Brady wasn’t spectacular, he did just enough to win the game, throwing for 237 yards, one touchdown and an interception. The Patriots won the game 24-14 and went on to win the Superbowl.
The 2004 NFL season kicked-off with a rematch between the two Pro-Bowl quarterbacks. Brady once again out performed Manning and won the game 27-24. Brady and Manning would meet once again in the playoffs during the 2004 season. Tom Brady finished the game with a passer rating of 92.2 compared to Manning’s passer rating of 69.3. The Patriots won the game 20-3 and for the second year in a row would go on to win the Superbowl. Heading into the 2005 NFL season Brady was 6-0 in head to head matches with Manning.
Part Two: Manning Makes a Comeback
Week nine of the 2005 NFL season Manning and Brady met for the seventh time. Both
quarterbacks had passer ratings over 115 but this time Manning came out on top.
The Colts outscored the Patriots 21-7 in the first half and finished with a dominant
40-21 victory. During the 2006 regular season Manning would once again outplay
Brady. Manning, threw for 326 yards two touchdowns and an interception. Brady
on the other hand, had one of the worst games of his career throwing four
interceptions and zero touchdowns. The 2006 AFC championship game was the third time that Brady and Manning would meet in the playoffs. Up until that point Brady was 2-0 against Manning in the playoffs. At halftime the Patriots were winning 21-6 and it looked like they
were on their way to the Superbowl for the third time in four years. Peyton
though had other plans. Manning led his team to 15 unanswered points to tie up
the game at 21. The Patriots and the Colts alternated scores until the Patriots
took a 34-31 lead with 3:49 left in the game. Peyton’s chance for true redemption
had finally arrived. Peyton marched his team down the field and scored the game
winning touchdown with one minute left. Manning went on to beat the Chicago
Bears and win his first Superbowl.
What Does the Future Hold?
Manning and Brady met five more times since the end of the 2006 season. Brady is 4-1 in those games but none of them were postseason matchups. The Patriots and the Broncos (Manning’s new team) both find themselves in first place in their divisions. If the season ended today, the Broncos would be the one seed and the Patriots would earn the second seed. We can only hope that they will once again meet in the AFC championship game and finally end the debate on who is the better quarterback.