Brady-Peyton XVI is of course the highlight of NFL Week 9, which you will be reminded of at least 100 times between now and Sunday unless you completely avoid the internet, television and radio this week. Here is a brief look at each of those games.
Sept 30, 2001 – Patriots 44, Colts 13
This was not only the first meeting between Manning and Brady, it was also Tom’s first NFL start. Brady was only 13/23 for 168 yards, but he didn’t turn the ball over. Manning threw three interceptions, including two that were returned for touchdowns. Otis Smith’s 78-yard return put the Pats up 17-0 late in the first half, and Ty Law’s 23-yard pick-six early in the 4th quarter gave New England a 37-7 lead. New England stunned the Colts, who were favored by 11½, to win their first game of what turned out to be a very magical and unforgettable season.
Oct 21, 2001 – Patriots 38, Colts 17
Three weeks later the Pats traveled to the RCA Dome and proved the first victory was no fluke. Manning threw for 335 yards and one touchdown but Brady was far more efficient, completing 80% of his passes and tossing three touchdown passes. David Patten had a career day as he was involved in four touchdowns: a 29-yard rush for the first score of the game, a 91-yard reception from Brady, a 60-yard TD pass to Troy Brown, and 6-yard catch for the final score.
Nov 30, 2003 – Patriots 38, Colts 34
After a one-year hiatus – 2002 was the only year since Brady became an NFL starter that the two did not meet, other than the two seasons each player missed due to injuries – the 9-2 Patriots traveled to Indianapolis to face the 9-2 Colts. This was really the first game in which the two clubs were the dominant forces in the AFC, and arguably the real start to the rivalry. The game lived up to the hype, with Mike Vrabel’s first quarter strip sack of Manning leading to the first of two touchdown runs by Mike Cloud. The Patriots took an early 17-0 lead on Brady’s 31-yard touchdown pass to Dedric Ward, but an 8-yard TD by Manning to Marcus Pollard cut the lead to seven with 19 seconds left in the half. Bethel Johnson then took the ensuing kickoff back 92 yards across the field on down the left side for a touchdown, and the Patriots held on for the win despite a late rally by Indy. The Colts were on the verge of scoring late in the game but Willie McGinest stopped Edgerrin James cold on an iconic play on 4th-and-one to preserve the victory.
Jan 18, 2004 – Patriots 24, Colts 14 (AFC Championship Game)
The Colts get an opportunity for revenge in the first-ever playoff game between Manning and Brady, but the outcome remains the same. Ty Law intercepts three Manning passes and Rodney Harrison picks off another on the first series, while Antowain Smith rushes for 100 yards and Adam Vinatieri boots five field goals. Two weeks later the Patriots overcome a decimated defensive secondary and defeat Carolina for their second Lombardi trophy.
Sept 9, 2004 – Patriots 27, Colts 24
The NFL uses the rivalry to kick off the 2004 season, and football fans are treated to another great game. The Colts were up by four at halftime, but it could have been more – and that cost them later. Tedy Bruschi intercepted Manning on the six-yard line on the first drive of the game, and after Manning hit Marvin Harrison for a 3-yard score with 45 seconds left in the half Indy was up by seven – but Brady quickly drove New England downfield to set up an Adam Vinatieri field goal to cut the deficit to four as time expired in the first half. The defense came up big again late in this game. First then-rookie Vince Wilfork recovered the ball in the end zone after Eugene Wilson knocked the ball out of Edgerrin James’ arms at the one-yard line with less than four minutes to play and the Pats up by three, and then after Indy gets the ball back they are driving into field goal position with time running out. Willie McGinest sacked Manning for a crucial 13-yard loss, and Mike Vanderjagt – who had not missed on any of his previous 42 field goal tries – shanked the 48-yard attempt badly, and the Patriots won. Brady threw for 335 yards and three touchdowns – to Deion Branch, David Patten and Daniel Graham – while Manning went for 256 yards and two TDs.
Jan 16, 2005 – Patriots 20, Colts 3 (AFC Division Game)
After Edgerrin James had shredded the Pats with 142 yards on the ground in the week one game, the New England defense clamped down and limited him to 39 yards rushing on 14 carries. Manning had set an NFL record with 49 touchdown passes during the season and the Colts were coming off a playoff victory over Denver in which they scored 49 points, but Manning (238 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT) was completely held in check in this game. Brady threw for only 144 yards but was quietly effective, completing 67% of his passes with one touchdown and no turnovers. The first scoring drive went 78 yards on 16 plays, and a 15-play third quarter drive ate up 8:16. After running the ball on 11 of 14 plays – Corey Dillon finished with 144 yards rushing – Brady hit David Givens for a touchdown to give the Patriots a ten point lead. In the fourth quarter the Patriots again kept the ball out of Manning’s hands, with a 14-play, 94-yard drive that culminated in a one-yard touchdown run by Brady.
Nov 7, 2005 – Colts 40, Patriots 21
The 8-0 Colts came into this game as three point favorites over the 4-3 Patriots even though the game was played in Foxboro – and even though Manning was at this point 0-7 against New England. Manning was 28 of 37 for 321 yards and three touchdowns as Indy scored on seven of their first eight possessions. Brady finished 22-of-33 for 265 yards, with three touchdowns: a 16-yard TD pass to Deion Branch, a 31-yarder to Daniel Graham and a 19-yard score to Troy Brown. The Colts went to 13-0 before taking their foot off the gas and finishing 14-2 this season, but lost in their first playoff game to eventual Super Bowl champions Pittsburgh; the Patriots went 10-6 and beat Jacksonville in the playoffs before losing to Denver.
Nov 5, 2006 – Colts 27, Patriots 20
In his first game against his former team, Adam Vinatieri kicked two field goals – but also missed on two other attempts. The schedule makers once again placed this game in the midst of network rating seeps, and the Colts once again entered the game undefeated at 8-0. The Patriots were 6-1 and coming off two road victories by a combined score of 59-13, but this time the strong defense and special teams was on the other team. The Patriots turned the ball over five times, missed a field goal, gave up a 70-yard kickoff return, and had multiple costly penalties. About the only positive was Troy Brown passing Stanley Morgan to become the Patriots all-time career leader in pass receptions.
Jan 21, 2007 – Colts 38, Patriots 34 (AFC Championship Game)
The Colts win their third straight against the Pats and Manning wins his first playoff game against New England. This is the game when Indy allegedly piped in artificial noise to make it more difficult for the Pats to hear play calls on offense, and also turned up the heat in the dome with the idea of dehydrating Patriot players who had the flu. That resulted in special teamer Eric Alexander having to play linebacker on the final drive, which hurt. You may also recall a phantom face-guarding penalty, Reche Caldwell waving his arms like a madman because he’s completely uncovered in a blown coverage – and then dropping the pass… and the Colts came back from a 21-3 halftime deficit to win in a game where three offensive linemen – Logan Mankins, Jeff Saturday and Dan Klecko – scored touchdowns. Manning passed for 349 yards and was pretty much unstoppable in the second half. At the two minute warning Reggie Wayne coughs up the ball after a pass reception, but it pops straight up in the air seemingly for eternity, and comes right back down in his arms. You had to sense it just wasn’t the Pats day right there.
Nov 4, 2007 – Patriots 24, Colts 20
Both teams entered the game undefeated, and NFL fans were treated to great game. The Pats, who had been averaging 41 points per game, were losing 20-10 with less than ten minutes to go after Manning scored from one yard out. Bray then hit Randy Moss on a 55-yard pass play that set up a three-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker, and on the next series Roosevelt Colvin sacked Manning to force a punt. Brady led the Pats to the go-ahead touchdown on the next drive, with a 35-yard pass to Donte’ Stallworth followed by a 13-yard pass to Kevin Faulk for the game winner with 3:21 to play. Colvin came up big again on the next drive as he recovered a Manning fumble to clinch the victory.
Nov 15, 2009 – Colts 35, Patriots 34
The Pats dominated early and were up 31-14 after Randy Moss caught his second touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter. Then Indy came roaring back, and just like the 2005 and 2006 games, were seemingly unstoppable. Perhaps recalling those games – and seeing what was happening on each of the late drives against a gassed defense – Bill Belichick goes for it on 4th and two, falling just short of the sticks on a pass to Kevin Faulk in which Indy may have been aided by a somewhat favorable spot. Brady throws for 375 yards and three touchdowns, but Manning’s one-yard TD pass to Reggie Wayne with 16 seconds remaining gives the Colts the victory as they improve to 9-0 while New England drops to 6-3.
Nov 21, 2010 – Patriots 31, Colts 28
Manning throws for 396 yards to Brady’s 186, but Tom completes all but six passes with no picks while Peyton throws 14 incomplete passes and three interceptions. Danny Woodhead scored on a beautiful 36-yard run late in the third quarter to give the Patriots a 14-point lead, but Manning came back with two touchdown passes to trivia answers Blair White (a guy who lasted all of two seasons in the NFL) and TE Gijon Robinson (31 career receptions). With 31 seconds to play Indy had driven to the New England six, but James Sanders picked Manning off on a pass that was not close to Pierre Garcon to seal the win.
Oct 7, 2012 – Patriots 31, Broncos 21
This was a rare early season meeting, with both teams at 2-2 in Manning’s first game as a Bronco against the Patriots. Brady improved his record to 9-4 versus Manning as he led the Patriots on four drives of 80 or more yards, completing 23 out of 31 passes for 223 yards, passing for one touchdown and scoring another on a one-yard run. The Pats totaled 89 plays and a club-record 35 first downs by running the up-tempo, no-huddle offense for much of the game. Stevan Ridley rushed for 151 yards and a touchdown, but his late fumble created concern. New England was up 31-7 late in the third quarter after a Manning (31/44, 345 yards, 3 touchdowns) fumble led to a Ridley touchdown run. Peyton then came back with two touchdown passes to cut the lead to ten, and had momentum when they recovered Ridley’s turnover. Denver once again drove deep into New England territory, but Jermaine Cunningham recovered Wiilis McGahee’s fumble on the 11 yard line with 3:42 left to play to seal the win.
Nov 24, 2013 – Patriots 34, Broncos 31 (OT)
Brady-Manning returned to its normal November ratings sweeps time frame, as the 7-3 Patriots were a rare home underdog against the 9-1 Broncos. Wes Welker’s first game as a Bronco versus the Pats was a tale of two halves. The Patriots fumbled the ball away three times in the first half and were down 24-0 at the break. Brady (34/50, 344 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT) then opened up the second half with three straight touchdown drives to cut the lead to three entering the fourth quarter. The Pats went up by seven on a Brady to Edelman touchdown and a Gostkowski field goal, but Manning 19/36, 150, 2 TD, 1 INT) hit Demaryius Thomas for the tying score on a drive aided by two critical penalties. Late in overtime Welker called for a fair catch, but the ball bounced and hit one-time Patriot Tony Carter. Nate Ebner recovered and Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 31-yard field goal with less than two minutes to play to win the game.
Jan 19, 2014 – Broncos 26, Patriots 16 (AFC Championship Game)
The Pats were decimated with injuries (Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Rob Gronkowski, and then Aqib Talib during the game), and simply no match for the Broncos. Denver controlled the ball for 35:44 and ran 71 plays to New England’s 56. The Broncos rolled up 507 yards of total offense as the defense could not get off the field, and Manning completed 32 of 43 passes for 400 yards with two touchdowns and no picks; Brady finished 24/38 for 277 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions, and also scored on a five-yard run. Despite the victory Manning is still only 5-10 against Brady and 6-11 versus Bill Belichick, but he is now 2-2 against Brady and Belichick in the playoffs – and 2-1 against B&B in conference championship games.
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