Q: Are you happy that the game is over?
A: I am, certainly I am. It is a different feeling out there, but what a great ball game. Back and forth. We really felt the challenge offensively to score some points because we knew what their offense is capable of. If there wasn't that push off penalty, that game was going down to the true wire. That was a big play. It would have been nice to put the game away right there, get two yards on third and two and finish it off. All in all we made enough plays to win.
Q: What did you think of Eli?
A: I think Eli played his butt off. He made some big plays. There was pretty tight coverage on his touchdowns to Plaxico and Shockey and he put it where only his guy could make a play. Like I said, we felt the challenge to score points and move the ball because we knew what their offense was capable of with all their weapons: Eli, Tiki, Shockey, and Plaxico.
Q: What did you say to Eli afterwards?
A: I told him I loved him. That was the first thing I told him. I told him I was proud of the way he competed. I enjoyed watching him play in person. He is every bit as good as he looked on TV. He is going to be a great player in this league for a long time. I am proud to be related to the guy, I'm proud to be his brother.
Q: Was this the best case scenario? You both played well and the Colts get the win?
A: Somebody was going to have to win this game. The main thing is the Colts beat the Giants tonight. The bowl game, well with a bowl game you are supposed to get some gear. Like some sweat suits or some watches. We didn't get any bowl gear. I never even used the term bowl. I saw it as the Colts versus the Giants, those two good teams. You have a real Super Bowl contender over there. It is great that we can come on the road and win opening night in this kind of place. This place was rocking. That atmosphere in the pre-game was something. The only time it hit me was when I was walking out during the pre-pre-game and I was talking to someone by the goal post and this guy walked by me. He didn't see who I was but I was just looking at this guy walking out and I thought that is my brother right there and he just so happens to be the other quarterback. That is when it hit me. I did not know what it was going to be like. I found myself watching him during warm ups and peeking at him during the national anthem. It was neat to be on the same field as him knowing that's my little brother out there.
Q: How big was Adam Vinatieri tonight?
A: Adam made some great kicks. You always like to finish with touchdowns in the red zone, especially against a team like the Giants. We had a good thing going but got down there and had some minus plays, either a penalty or runs for losses. Third and goal from the twelve, those kinds of things are hard to overcome. We were lucky a few times that we did not turn it over; those were poor decisions on my part. It is good to get the three but you sure would like to get touchdowns.
Q: Was there anything about Eli's skills or his game that surprised you?
A: He is just as cool as he looks on TV. He is very calm. I was talking to Dwight Freeney just now and he said he is frustrated with how quickly Eli gets rid of the ball and how he always steps up into the right place which you can't really teach that. You either have that or you don't. Freeney is the best in the league and if he can't get to you it means your line is blocking pretty good but you had better have a quick release against Freeney. You have a frustrated defensive end right there because Eli has a good release and has a good feel of the pocket. That is what has always impressed me about his game. He is always cool back there. Nothing seems to faze him; he just has a cool, calm demeanor. That is a great characteristic for a quarterback.
Q: Did you speak to your parents at all last night?
A: I spoke to them on the phone. I think they are glad it is over with. It is pretty awesome when you think about it. If it ever happens again I want to meet the two brothers. I don't think it will happen again. I don't think that two brothers will start against each other at the quarterback position. It was unique and I hope that somebody got a picture of Eli and I together out there. It is something that he and I will talk about with our children and grandchildren for years to come. It was an honor to be out there on the same field as him tonight.
Q: As good as it feels to win do you feel bad that Eli had to lose?
A: Like I said, the Giants lost, that is the way I look at it. The Colts beat the Giants tonight. Some team had to win. We got off to a good start offensively and tried to set the tempo with that drive. Any time you can get points on your first drive it is good. In that first drive there is always a level of rust in there so for us to get some points out of it was big to set the tempo of the game.
Q: What did you think of your running game tonight?
It is certainly something we need to work on. To have third and two right there and not get it to put the game away, that is just something you need to do to win in this league consistently. It is something we need to work on. We ran it good at times those last couple of drives. That was big, but it is certainly something we need to be more consistent at to be a more balanced offense.
Peyton Manning Postgame Comments
Q: Are you happy that the game is over?