The Manning Bowl didn’t necessarily live up to the pregame hype — at least from the perspective of little brother Eli Manning — as the Broncos throttled the Giants, 41-23.
The younger sibling, Eli, went 28-of-48 for 362 yards and a score, but also threw four interceptions, as the Giants (0-2) couldn’t overcome their own ineptness, particularly on third down. New York went an appalling 1-of-11 on third down, including a horrid 1-of-8 effort in the first half.
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Meanwhile, older brother Peyton was surgical for the Broncos (2-0) in picking apart a Giants defense that went into this week’s matchup full of bravado, saying they would slow down the high-powered and uptempo attack. The elder sibling finished an impressive 30-of-43 for 307 yards and two touchdowns.
New York simply made too many unforced errors against a team built to capitalize on such miscues. The microcosm of the game came in a sequence midway through the fourth quarter with the game still in doubt. Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno scampered 25 yards around the right end as the Broncos scored a touchdown on their second-straight drive, giving them a 24-16 advantage. Eli was promptly picked off on the ensuing drive on a fluky play, when cornerback Tony Carter deflected a slant pass and the ball caromed off his back foot and landed neatly into the hands of cornerback Chris Harris. The turnover resulted in Denver again marching down field and scoring a touchdown when Peyton hit tight end Julius Thomas for an 11-yard score with 12:19 remaining in the game, effectively salting away the contest.
What we learned ...
1. Older bests younger
Ever since Eli Manning won his second Super Bowl — one more than big brother Peyton — there has been much debate about the younger sibling supplanting the elder in crunchtime moments. But Sunday’s matchup proved Peyton Manning still has what it takes to put away a good defense when it matters. The elder sibling went 30-of-43 for 307 yards and two scores, while his younger brother struggled with errant passes and turnovers as he went 28-of-49 for 362 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. This will likely be the final time the brothers meet — unless they settle the score in February — meaning Peyton bested Eli in every head-to-head meeting.
2. No rush
The Giants’ running game once again struggled – a theme that’s been rearing its head for years. David Wilson didn’t give up the ball this time, but he wasn’t the explosive runner and game breaker that Big Blue fans have hoped he’d be, as he was stymied in tallying just 17 yards on seven carries. Brandon Jacobs, who resigned with the team in Tuesday, had the only spark from the rushing attack when he scored on a one-yard plunge. Denver, meanwhile, flexed its muscle in the running game — thought to be the offense’s only Achilles heel — as Moreno tallied a game-high 93 yards and two scores.
3. Slow starts
The Giants failed to capitalize on the fact that Denver got off to its proverbial slow start (they only led 10-9 at the half) and the fact that the Broncos were missing starting cornerback Champ Bailey and All-Pro linebacker Von Miller is in the midst of a six-game suspension. The absence of their two stars didn’t help the Giants’ cause, as they failed to generate a running game, couldn’t get on the same page in the passing game and didn’t take advantage of the extra time Eli would have in the absence of Miller.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.