Peyton on Hand to Support Little Brother

Because of conflicting schedules Peyton Manning has not seen his brother play in person since Eli was in college manning the controls for the Mississippi Rebels. Due to the Colts having a bye week, Peyton was in Atlanta to watch his younger brother play professionally for the first time.

Of course the two squared off in the much ballyhooed season opener. But this time Peyton didn't have to worry about gameplans and blitzing linebackers. He could just sit back and enjoy himself.

"It was great, it was exciting," Peyton told TGI after the game. "It was just a good win. It was fun to be at a football game in person and watch your younger brother play at the same time."

The Manning brothers talked for several minutes after the game before hugging each other good-bye prior to Eli boarding the team bus.

"I enjoy watching him play on the highlights and to watch him play in person is a real treat and to visit with him in the locker room is special," Peyton said. "It's the first time I've seen him play in person in the NFL since the time we played against him."

Not only was the elder Manning happy at the opportunity to see his younger bro on the field, he was impressed as well. Manning completed 17-of-30 passes for 180 yards and two TDs. He overcame two early tipped INTs to help lead the Giants to victory.

"I was proud of the way he played," Peyton said. "He hung in there tough the whole game and had a good win. I was proud to watch him play and proud of him winning."

Tiki on the run: All the talk in the week leading up to this game was whether or not New York's defense could stop Atlanta's oh-so-dangerous running game. Yet the big story was how the Giants rolled over and around the Falcons and their strong run defense, which was ranked second in the NFL. Before New York's 27-14 win, the Falcons had allowed only 69.3 ground yards per contest en route to their 4-1 start. Tiki Barber had that much by halftime.

"When Tiki starts to run the ball we start to control the tempo of the game," Manning said. "He is unbelievable and he does a great job. Every day, every game he impresses me more."

"They are a good defensive team," Tom Coughlin said. "There is no question about that. We did a good job up front creating some opportunities. I thought there was good, hard running in Tiki Barber and Brandon Jacobs."

Barber averaged 7.1 yards per carry while rolling up a 185-yard afternoon. He said he was just glad the Giants didn't panic and stuck with their original plan.

"The good thing is we didn't get away from our running game despite being down by 11 points," he said. "Fortunately we did what we do best and that is running the ball."

Brandon Jacobs also chipped in on the ground, gaining 53 yards on 11 carries and scoring on a two-yard TD run.

Even the defensive players appreciated the superb rushing attack.

"They did an awesome job of running out the clock and keeping us fresh," CB Sam Madison said. "Those guys did a great job."

For whom the Bell tolls: With starting SS Gibril Wilson, arguably New York's best run defender in the secondary, a late scratch, all the pressure fell on Jason Bell.

Bell didn't find out until Sunday morning that he'd be starting in place of Wilson, who injured his toe during practice two days before the game.

"Gibril's such a tough guy," said Bell, the former Texan who signed with Big Blue in March. "But it felt good. This was quite a defensive team task today."

Bell responded with three solo tackles and added another on special teams. He said he was just glad to fit in.

"Being the only non-regular in there, I didn't want to let those guys down," he said. "I feel good. I feel like I earned my money."

Can a brother even get a layup? With all the solid defensive play, the playful jumpshots that the Giants defenders unveiled during their win over Washington were flying through the air at the Georgia Dome. For just about everybody that is.

"Everybody else was shooting jumpshots … and I have to borrow their jumpshot," said Michael Strahan, who posted two solo tackles but didn't get any of New York's seven sacks.

Strahan defended his unit's new pastime. "We're having fun out there," he said. "God, you have to have fun playing this game."

Gibril's toe says no: In addition to Wilson, LB Carlos Emmons (pectoral muscle), WR Sinorice Moss (quad) and RB Derrick Ward remained sidelined. New York's healthy scratches were OT Na'Shan Goddard, DT Jonas Seawright and OT Guy Whimper. Tim Hasselbeck was the club's third quarterback.

NFC East update: The Giants and Cowboys, who meet Monday night in Dallas, both improved to 3-2 with victories. The 4-2 Eagles remain a half-game ahead despite their loss in New Orleans, while the pathetic Redskins dropped to 2-4 after losing at home to Tennessee.

Series notes: The Giants still trail in the regular season series with Atlanta, 10-8. The visiting team has now won the last 11 games and 14 of the 18 overall in the series. The Giants have won their last six games in Atlanta and are 7-3 against the Falcons in Georgia. They are now 2-0 in the Georgia Dome, including a 13-6 victory on Oct. 8, 2000 in which Ron Dayne scored the game's only touchdown. The last time the Giants lost a game in Atlanta was on Oct. 1, 1978, a 23-20 Falcons' victory.

Dome sweet dome: The Giants continued their dominant play in domes. Since playing their first indoors game in the Louisiana Superdome on Oct. 29, 1978, they are now 20-12 in indoor games and have won six of their last seven games in domes since the start of the 2002 season. Their most recent indoor game was a 34-13 thrashing of the Vikings in the Metrodome on Oct. 31, 2004.

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