NDIANAPOLIS - For much of the week preceding Super Bowl XLVI, the elder member of the NFL's most notable quarterback siblings dominated the headlines, with the situation involving rehabilitating quarterback Peyton Manning and his tenuous future all but overshadowing Sunday evening's league title game.
And then came the game-winning Super Bowl drive by his lil' brother,
who has essentially transformed fourth-quarter derring-do into
derring-did this season, and suddenly the Indianapolis star might not
even be the most notable Manning in this city anymore.
In the stadium that his brother essentially built with 13 seasons of
brilliant play - the 2011 campaign doesn't count, of course, because
three neck surgeries in a 19-month stretch kept Peyton Manning off the
field entirely - Eli Manning took the New York Giants 88 yards for a
21-17 victory over New England. The last-gasp drive culminated with
tailback Ahmad Bradshaw's six-yard scoring run with just 57 seconds
remaining, when the desperate Patriots intentionally allowed the score.
Peyton's place? After the comeback victory over New England, the second
time in four years and five seasons that the Giants defeated the
Patriots in a Super Bowl game, and in which Eli Manning has
orchestrated a last-minute touchdown drive, maybe not. Eli Manning now
has a pair of Super Bowl rings to his brother's one.
"We're not much into comparisons," said Manning, the Super Bowl most
valuable player for a second time. "It just feels good. You know I
think the world (of Peyton). He's helped me immensely. But, sure, I'd
be lying to say this didn't feel great."
This week, Eli Manning characterized Peyton Manning as "perhaps the
greatest quarterback to ever play." After Sunday night, Peyton Manning
might not even be the greatest quarterback on the famed family tree.
Manning completed 30-of-40 passes for 296 yards, with one touchdown,
and no interceptions, and a passer rating of 103.8. He became the fifth
player to capture multiple Super Bowl most valuable player honors, all
of them quarterbacks. He is also the 11th quarterback to start and win
multiple Super Bowls, with New York claiming its fourth Super Bowl in
The victory was typically Manning, who established a league record
during the regular season with 15 fourth-quarter touchdown passes.
Although Manning did not record a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter
on Sunday evening, the Giants gained their seventh of 13 victories this
season (counting the playoffs) via a fourth-quarter comeback.
"There's just something magic about (Manning) and this tea, in the
fourth quarter," insisted wide receiver Mario Manningham, who had five
receptions for 73 yards. "Nothing fazes us or him. "We don't ever feel
we're out of it."
A four-year veteran who is often lost in the hoopla surrounding fellow
wideouts Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, each of whom had 1,000-plus
receiving yards during the regular season, Manningham might share
co-star billing with Manning. Of his five catches, four came in the
fourth quarter, for 68 yards. None was bigger than the circus-catch,
38-yard grab that opened the New York winning possession, moving the
ball to midfield.
"Absolutely an unreal catch," said Manning of the reception along the
left sideline, on which Manningham somehow got both feet barely
inbounds, a catch that was confirmed via replay after Patriots coach
Bill Belichick challenged it. Countered Manningham, who had three
catches for 58 yards on the winning march: "The thing about Eli is he
has confidence in (his receivers). He knows that if he puts in near us,
we're usually going to come down with it."
The play came with the Patriots' secondary in a classic "cover-2" and
overplaying on Cruz and Nicks. Manning put the ball exactly where
needed between the corner and the safety.
Manning set a new Super Bowl record by completing his first nine passes
of the game, and while he cooled off for a spell - the Giants were
forced to settle for a pair of field goals in the third quarter after
promising drives stalled out - he never really went completely frigid.
Only three times in the game did Manning throw incomplete passes on
consecutive attempts. The eight-year veteran at no point in the game
had more than two errant passes in a row.
"There were times," said Manning, "when we killed ourselves with
penalties or silly plays, or sacks, or something. "But we always felt
good about what we were doing. We were moving the ball, stopping
ourselves as much as they were stopping us. We just had to keep the
faith that things would pay off."
Billed as a game that would be decided by the quarterbacks, Manning
didn't so much outplay counterpart Tom Brady, as he did outlasted him.
And he wasn't undone by as many errors, those he made and were made by
teammates. Brady was charged with a safety on the Pats' first play from
scrimmage, when he was penalized for intentional grounding in his own
In the fourth quarter, nursing a 17-15 lead and with the ball at the
New York 44-yard line, Brady overthrew wide open slot receiver Wes Welker on the left seam of the Giants' 44-yard line. Some felt Welker
should have made the grab, even though the throw was high, and a
completion might have secured the Patriots another Super Bowl crown. On
the next play, wideout Deion Branch couldn't corral a third-down pass,
and New England was forced to punt with 3:46 remaining.
Manning took over from there.
In the offseason, Eli Manning made some headlines when he declared he
considered himself a so-called "elite" quarterback. No one dare argue
the point now, and it's clear now that "elite" can't be spelled without
"He just had that look," Manningham said of the final series. "He just
really thrives on those situations."
The family quarterback patriarch, Archie Manning, was beaming in the
New York locker room after the game, but declined to offer any
comparisons between his two famous sons.
"He played like a quarterback needs to play," Archie said. "He stepped
And maybe stepped out of big brother's lengthy shadow
Len Pasquarelli is a Senior NFL Writer for The Sports Xchange.
covered the NFL for 33 years and is a member of the Pro Football Hall
of Fame selection committee. His NFL coverage earned recognition as the
winner of the McCann Award for distinguished reporting in 2008.
For more Patriots news follow us via Twitter: Follow
Or find us on Facebook : Facebook.com/PatriotsInsider
Is Eli "Elite" Now?
Patriots Insider Top Stories
Gronk Highlights | Every Week Six CatchNew England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski had seven receptions for a career-high 162 yards and one touchdown in the Patriots 35-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 6…
Patriots InsiderMonday at 8:43 PM
LOCKED ON PATRIOTS- 10/17/16Chris Simoneau of Patriots Insider discusses yesterdays game and catches you up on Patriots news, including big news regarding their upcoming opponent.
Patriots InsiderMonday at 8:14 PM
LOCKED ON PATRIOTS- 10/16/16-Who Wins Sunday?Chris Simoneau runs through the inactives for both teams, what effect they'll have, and predicts the final score. Check it out!
LOCKED ON PATRIOTS- 10/14/16Chris Simoneau discusses the 2016 Cincinnati Bengals and their offensive and defensive issues.