x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Peyton proves bigger

Colts quarterback comes away victor against younger brother Eli and hapless Giants.

The Giants' Eli Manning, No 10, had very little chance against the Colts.
The Giants' Eli Manning, No 10, had very little chance against the Colts.

Peyton Manning showed some compassion for his little brother. It did not help - the Indianapolis Colts pummelled Eli anyway. Big brother Peyton dispensed with his usual encouragement for his defence to get after the opposing quarterback. No matter: Peyton proved he still rules America's first family of quarterbacks and the Colts dominated Eli's New York Giants 38-14 on Sunday night. Manning Match-up II was no contest.

"No, I didn't," Peyton, the four-time league MVP, said of dropping his pre-game pep talk. He did not need to do all that much thanks to the way Indy's running backs, offensive line and defence gouged the Giants (1-1). "I really just kind of focused on the defence and on our running game," Peyton said after he threw for three touchdowns. "This was a different kind of game for me. The run really was the ticket tonight."

But the focus, naturally, was on Peyton versus Eli. "I told him I loved him," Peyton said of their 10-minute conversation after the game. "I think they will be fine. They play the Titans next week and we'll being pulling hard for them to help us in the AFC South." Four years ago, in the first meeting of sibling NFL quarterbacks, Peyton's Colts won 26-21 at the Meadowlands. Five months later, he guided Indy to the Super Bowl title. A year later, it was Eli matching that championship, leading the Giants to one of the NFL's biggest upsets over the undefeated New England Patriots.

The brothers have even grabbed the spotlight away from the field with a series of commercials, including one in which Eli locks Peyton in a closet before heading to the stadium. Maybe he should have used that strategy on Sunday night. The Mannings chatted during pre-game warm-ups and met at midfield for the coin toss, twice shaking hands, but otherwise they could have been total strangers during the game.

Eli was hugged by both parents after the loss and refused to address the match-up after the game. "We couldn't get into a rhythm," he said. "They outplayed us, and that's what it came down to." Archie, hurrying down the hall behind the locker rooms, was asked what he does on nights like this when he has one son on each side. He smiled, shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know. It's tough." It was toughest on Eli, for sure.

* Associated Press