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Manning Bowl lived up to the hype

Published: Sep. 11, 2006 at 1:42 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 14, 2006 at 12:57 AM EST
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By Tom Curran, NBCSports.com

(September 10, 2006 ) - America got a good one.

The Manning brothers, the other 52 guys on the Colts and Giants and their respective coaching staffs were all present and accounted for on the first Sunday Night Football game of the season as the Colts edged the Giants 26-21.
 
"This place was rocking," said Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. "That atmosphere before the game was something."

Too many times these games never match up to the pregame hoop-de-doo.

This one did, coming down to the final minute before the Giants ran out of time during a too-frantic jaunt down the field to try and push ahead with a last-minute touchdown.

"It was a good football game and it was great for the nation to see," said Colts coach Tony Dungy. "It was great for the quarterbacks and great for the teams but the buildup (was difficult)."

Eli Manning finished 20 for 34 for 247 yards with two touchdowns and a pick for New York. Peyton Manning went 25 for 41 for 276 yards with a touchdown and a pick.

The brothers' postgame chat was brief.

Asked by Andrea Kremer what he'd said to his younger brother, Peyton said: "I told him I loved him and how well I thought he played. That was a great ballgame tonight. I'm glad it's over. It will be good to get on with some regular-season games. This one wasn't regular."

No demons are slain in September, though. This Colts team won its first 13 games last season before fizzling out in the playoffs. The Giants, too, came undone in the playoffs, getting blasted by Carolina 23-0 the last time they were on the field. Both teams are as they were. Very good.

But Giants head coach Tom Coughlin had this to say in his post-game lecture: "We lost the game against a good football team. It's a marathon, not a sprint. The most important game is the next game. We have a lot of things to improve upon. We have no one to blame but ourselves."

"The main thing is, the Colts beat the Giants," Peyton Manning said. "The (Manning) Bowl game? If it's a bowl game you're supposed to get some gear, some sweats or something. We didn't get any gear. I don't even like to use the word (Manning Bowl)."

Fine. In the end, the game is always the thing. And it matched the hype. Which is nice.

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