Although many players would have ducked the media for a while after such as event, Manning was very candid when talking to reporters in the locker room at Halas Hall before practice last Wednesday. The Bears organization stands behind him, but he could still face disciplinary action from the league for this episode. Manning just hopes he is judged fairly.
"Hopefully the NFL will be more active in this and not let people just take advantage of their players," he said, "because I was accused of something that I didn't do. The DA said I wasn't involved in this. I didn't beat the guy, and hopefully, they'll be fair with me."
Fortunately for the Bears, Manning was able to put all of this behind him quickly and turn in a key performance against Seattle, the defending NFC champion.
Manning intercepted two Matt Hasselbeck passes in the second quarter, the first setting up a Robbie Gould field goal and the second leading to a Thomas Jones touchdown. The Bears trailed 3-0 in the early going, but the former Bruin changed the face of the game from his nickelback position. He was on the field more than usual with the Seahawks missing tailback Shaun Alexander and featuring a lot of four-receiver sets, helping him earn the Bear Report Stud of the Week award.
The Bears went on to crush Seattle 37-6 and emerge from Week 4 as the lone unbeaten team in the NFC. Manning pushed hard for a spot in the starting lineup during training camp, but he has settled in quite nicely in the nickel package and on special teams. He brings a wealth of playoff experience to a secondary that was believed to be vulnerable, but after shutting down one of the better passing attacks in football, the rest of the league has been put on notice.