Yes, Eli's stats and QB rating were actually higher than that of his elder brother of five years. But in the end, Peyton made more game-altering plays and, as a result, the Giants dropped to 0-1, losing the Manning Bowl due to a wide variety of miscues and misfortune.
"Peyton is a great quarterback," Michael Strahan said. "He's been the best in the league for the last few years. He knows where he's basically going with it before he gets it, which is tough (to defend)."
But Eli more than held his own, completing 20-of-34 passes for 247 yards, two TDs and an INT.
"He played well, with the exception of the interception," Tom Coughlin said. "He certainly put us in a position to have an opportunity to win the game. He was sharp, he was accurate, for the most part. He ran the offense well."
"I think Eli played his butt off," Peyton added. "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."
While there were plenty of good times, the youngest Manning's worst moment came one play after the ridiculous pass interference call on Tim Carter. With Big Blue facing a third-and-11 from its own 9-yard line late in the fourth, Manning uncorked a deep flutterball that was supposedly intended for Amani Toomer. However, Nick Harper was the only man on the field that had a legitimate chance at the ball and he gladly picked it off. That set up a Colts field goal that basically put the Giants away.
"Just a bad decision by me to throw it," he said. "I just can't float it there with the safety. I've got to throw a line drive. Just a bad decision by me there."
Peyton, on the other hand, displayed his usual calm, cool demeanor and basically looked as if he could do whatever he wanted whenever necessary. Sure the Giants stopped the Colts and held them to field goals on a handful of occasions. But when Indy needed a play, Peyton stepped right up and made it.
In the end, the brothers united at midfield and put everything into perspective – blood is thicker than NFL wins and losses.
"I just said good game, good win, keep it up," Eli said. "Not a whole lot was said. He played a good game and got a good win there."
"I told him I loved him," Peyton said. "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."…
The phantom foul
While no game turns on one single play or penalty, the Giants and their fans have every right to be enraged with the offensive pass interference call on Tim Carter when there wasn't one ounce of contact between Carter and the defender, Nick Harper, who slipped on the play.
"It's a shame, because we got the ball out there near midfield, and that's where it should have been," Coughlin said. "I was standing right there. It's very difficult for me to think that that kind of play is a foul."
Manning had just connected with Carter on a 19-yard gain out to the New York 37-yard line when the fateful flag fluttered to the turf.
"I didn't feel like I did anything that would cause a penalty," a somber Carter said afterward. "There was definitely no contact. I didn't understand the call."
But it had quite an impact because on the next play Manning was picked off trying to throw deep with 3:51 to play, basically ending the game in the process.
One of the biggest mistakes in a game full of them came right after Big Blue finally stopped Peyton Manning and the Colts with an R.W. McQuarters interception. Two plays later Tiki Barber misunderstood Eli Manning's call and before you knew it the ball was on the carpet and back in Indy's hands.
"I heard it wrong," Barber explained. "He called ‘44' and I heard '45.' It was completely my fault. He was trying to make up for my mistake."
"Tiki and I had a little miscommunication," Eli added, diplomatically. "That's the stuff that we can't have happen. We've got to be on the same page. It's my fault for trying to hand it off. It was supposed to be going one way and I should have known that if something happened to just keep it, go down, just dive up and try to minimize the loss. You hate to get a turnover right there."
The most notable healthy scratch was LB Brandon Short, who was passed over in favor of rookie Gerris Wilkinson, who contributes more on special teams. WR Sinorice Moss and RB Derrick Ward were the injured Giants, while CB Kevin Dockery, OT Na'Shan Goddard, DT Jonas Seawright and rookie OT Guy Whimper were healthy inactives. Tim Hasselbeck was the third quarterback.
Quote of the game
"We had opportunities. We had our hands on the ball about three times that we didn't catch it and the one time that we did. We had our opportunities. Definitely if we had taken advantage of them it probably would have been a little different outcome." – Michael Strahan
Plaxico Burress confirmed that he was fined $8,000 for being late to a meeting last week because he was at a doctor's appointment with his wife. While Burress was apologetic, he said, "Family comes first."…
Giants great Harry Carson received his Hall of Fame ring during a halftime ceremony…
The Giants lost their home opener for the first time since 2002, when they fell to San Francisco, 16-13…
The Giants are 46-31-5 on opening day and 45-33-4 in home opening games…
They are 14-11 in season-opening home games, 17-14 in Giants Stadium openers and 12-8 in season-opening games in Giants Stadium….
Tom Coughlin is 7-4 in opening day games, including 1-2 with the Giants.
Big Brother Knows Best
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