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Ranking All 16 Manning-Brady Bowls


Sunday’s AFC Championship Game between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots also represents Manning-Brady Bowl XVII. These two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks have already faced each other 16 times in their careers. Tom Brady holds a commanding 11-5 edge on Peyton Manning, but this rivalry is tied 2-2 in playoff matchups. This will be the fourth time each will stand in the other’s way of getting to the Super Bowl, with Manning having won their previous two AFC Conference Game clashes.

Here’s a look back at the 16 prior games between the generation’s finest signal-callers, ranked in order of historical significance, in-game excitement and individual performance.

1. Manning-Brady Bowl IX

2006 – AFC Championship at Indianapolis

Colts 38, Patriots 34

Peyton Manning – 27-of-47, 349 yards, TD, INT, rush TD

Tom Brady – 21-of-34, 232 yards, TD, INT

Tony Dungy and Manning finally punched their ticket to the Super Bowl with a thrilling come-from-behind win in the AFC title game. Trailing 21–3 in the second quarter, it looked as if Bill Belichick and Brady would cruise to victory. But Manning rallied back, leading an 80-yard drive that ended in a go-ahead TD run by Joseph Addai with one minute remaining. Brady’s last-ditch, last-second effort ended in an interception by Marlin Jackson. The Colts went on to win a rainy Super Bowl XLI against the Bears in Miami.

2. Manning-Brady Bowl XIV

2013 – Week 12 at New England

Patriots 34, Broncos 31 (OT)

Tom Brady – 34-of-50, 344 yards, 3 TD

Peyton Manning – 19-of-36, 150 yards, 2 TD, INT

In what was easily the most hyped and arguably the most exciting game of the season, Manning’s Broncos jumped out to a 24–0 lead only to have Brady’s Patriots charge back to take a 31–24 edge late in the fourth quarter — after scoring on the first five possessions of the second half. But Manning wasn’t done, finding Demaryius Thomas for a touchdown to force overtime at 31–31. The game ended with not a bang but a whimper, as a botched punt return set up a chip shot field goal to clinch a New England win.

3. Manning-Brady Bowl XV

2014 – AFC Championship at Denver

Broncos 26, Patriots 16

Peyton Manning – 32-of-43, 400 yards, 2 TD

Tom Brady – 24-of-38, 277 yards, TD

It’s only fitting that Manning have one of his best performances ever against the Patriots in the season he rewrote the NFL record book. The top-seeded Broncos simply had too much offense against Brady and the Patriots, who were without tight end Rob Gronkowski and could muster just 64 yards rushing. Manning was methodical in his dissection of the New England defense,  as Denver was content to chew up clock and basically play keep away after taking a 20-3 lead midway through the third quarter. The victory got Manning back to the Super Bowl as he moved to 2-0 against Brady in conference championship games.

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4. Manning-Brady Bowl IV

2003 – AFC Championship at New England

Patriots 24, Colts 14

Tom Brady – 22-of-37, 237 yards, TD

Peyton Manning – 23-of-47, 237 yards, TD, 4 INT

The first of soon-to-be five playoff meetings between Brady and Manning was a rough one for the true blue horseshoes. Manning threw four picks in the snow — three to Ty Law and one to Rodney Harrison, who also forced a fumble of Marvin Harrison — in a physical game many point to as a catalyst for the implementation of the more pass-happy rules we know and love (hate?) today. New England then went on to win the “breast Super Bowl ever,” bookending Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” with a win over the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

5. Manning-Brady Bowl VI

2004 – AFC Divisional Round at New England

Patriots 20, Colts 3

Tom Brady – 18-of-27, 144 yards, TD, rush TD

Peyton Manning – 27-of-42, 238 yards, INT

The second playoff meeting between Brady and Manning was owned by the home team Patriots, who dominated time-of-possession 37:43-to-22:17 — including a 21:26-to-8:34 edge in the second half — in a Foxboro snowstorm. Adding insult to injury, Rodney Harrison sealed the win with an interception in the end zone with 10 seconds remaining. From there, Brady’s Patriots marched to wins at Pittsburgh and against Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX.

6. Manning-Brady Bowl XI

2009 – Week 10 at Indianapolis

Colts 35, Patriots 34

Peyton Manning – 28-of-44, 327 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT

Tom Brady – 29-of-42, 375 yards, 3 TD, INT

The Manning-Brady Bowl skipped a year following the 2008 season-ending knee injury suffered by Brady in the season opener. But the two made up for lost time in 2009. Manning threw a game-tying scoring strike to Reggie Wayne — who made a highlight reel diving catch in the end zone — before Matt Stover’s extra point gave Indianapolis a one-point lead with 16 seconds remaining.

7. Manning-Brady Bowl III

2003 – Week 13 at Indianapolis

Patriots 38, Colts 34

Tom Brady – 26-of-35, 236 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT

Peyton Manning – 29-of-48, 278 yards, 4 TD, INT

Despite Manning’s best efforts — throwing four TDs to four different receivers — the Colts lost a close call following a dramatic 4th-and-1 stop with 18 seconds to play. Willie McGinest stuffed Edgerrin James for a one-yard loss to secure turnover on downs and Brady victory formation.

8. Manning-Brady Bowl X

2007 – Week 9 at Indianapolis

Patriots 24, Colts 20

Tom Brady – 21-of-32, 255 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT

Peyton Manning – 16-of-27, 225 yards, TD, INT, rush TD

The Patriots improved to 9–0 by defeating the 7–0 Colts en route to an 18–0 start to a season that ended with a painful loss to Eli Manning’s Giants in Super Bowl XLII. Touchdown Tom threw three TDs for a record ninth consecutive game, breaking Peyton’s record of eight straight. In a tale of two halves, Indy outgained New England 229-to-114 in the first half, only to see the Pats outgain the Colts 228-to-100 in the second half.

9. Manning-Brady Bowl I

2001 – Week 3 at New England

Patriots 44, Colts 13

Tom Brady – 13-of-23, 168 yards

Peyton Manning – 20-of-34, 196 yards, TD, 3 INT, rush TD

Brady’s first career start came against Manning, the man who would become his chief rival over the next decade-plus. But Brady’s first career TD pass didn’t come until Week 5. But he did go on to throw his first career playoff TD in a Super Bowl XXXVI win over Kurt Warner’s heavily favored Rams.

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10. Manning-Brady Bowl VII

2005 – Week 9 at New England

Colts 40, Patriots 21

Peyton Manning – 28-of-37, 321 yards, 3 TD, INT

Tom Brady – 22-of-33, 265 yards, 3 TD

After starting his career 0–6 head-to-head, Manning finally earned his first victory over Brady. The stable of Colts playmakers helped their quarterback as much as they could — with Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne all topping 100 yards from scrimmage. The statement win moved Indy to an 8–0 start in a 2005 season that saw the Colts jump out to 13–0 before staggering down the stretch and going one-and-done in the playoffs against the eventual Super Bowl XL champion Steelers.

11. Manning-Brady Bowl V

2004 – Week 1 at New England

Patriots 27, Colts 24

Tom Brady – 26-of-38, 335 yards, 3 TD, INT

Peyton Manning – 16-of-29, 256 yards, 2 TD, INT

The NFL kicked off the 2004 season with Manning vs. Brady in a rematch of the 2003 AFC Championship Game. The results were the same, despite a solid effort from Manning and 142 rushing yards from Edgerrin James. Indy won nearly every statistical category but was just 3-of-7 in the Red Zone, which ultimately dropped Manning to 0–5 against Brady.

12. Manning-Brady Bowl XIII

2012 – Week 5 at New England

Patriots 31, Broncos 21

Tom Brady – 23-of-31, 223 yards, TD, rush TD

Peyton Manning – 31-of-44, 337 yards, 3 TD

Just when it looked as if there may never be another Manning-Brady Bowl — due to the four (or more) neck surgeries that caused Manning to miss the 2011 season — the rivalry was renewed in style. Manning’s jersey was different but his game was the same. Unfortunately for No. 18, Brady led four scoring drives of at least 80 yards as the Patriots set a franchise record with 35 first downs.

13. Manning-Brady Bowl XII

2010 – Week 11 at New England

Patriots 31, Colts 28

Tom Brady – 19-of-25, 186 yards, 2 TD

Peyton Manning – 38-of-52, 396 yards, 4 TD, 3 INT

New England started strong in each half, taking a 21–7 advantage in the second quarter and 31–14 lead early in the fourth quarter. Playing from behind all game was good for Manning’s stats. But it was Brady — who leaned on a combined 165 yards and two TDs on the ground from running backs BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead — who had the last laugh.

14. Manning-Brady Bowl VIII

2006 – Week 9 at New England

Colts 27, Patriots 20

Peyton Manning – 20-of-36, 326 yards, 2 TD, INT

Tom Brady – 20-of-35, 201 yards, 4 INT

For a second straight season, Indianapolis improved to 8–0 following a Week 9 win at New England. Brady threw four INTs after entering the game with just five picks through the season’s first seven games. Adam Vinatieri also hit two field goals in his first game against the Patriots as a member of the Colts.

15. Manning-Brady Bowl XVI

2014 – Week 9 at New England

Patriots 43, Broncos 21

Tom Brady – 33-of-53, 333 yards, 4 TD, INT

Peyton Manning – 34-of-57, 438 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT

The Patriots jumped all over the Broncos at home, scoring three times in the second quarter alone to take a commanding 27-7 lead at halftime. Even though Manning threw for the most yards in his career against the Patriots, he was very succinct in his performance, saying after the game, “Well I don’t usually stink, but I stunk today.” This win also was important in that it gave New England the head-to-head tiebreaker over Denver for the top seed in the playoffs after both finished the regular season 12-4. The rematch would have been in Foxboro for the right to go the Super Bowl, but Indianapolis took care of that when the Colts upset the Broncos in the Divisional Round. The Patriots would dispatch of the Colts in the AFC Championship Game and then survived the Seahawks to get Brady (and Bill Belichick) that coveted fourth Super Bowl ring.

16. Manning-Brady Bowl II

2001 – Week 6 at Indianapolis

Patriots 38, Colts 17

Tom Brady – 16-of-20, 202 yards, 3 TD

Peyton Manning – 22-of-34, 335 yards, TD

Remember when Brady and Manning were in the same division? Those were the days. The Patriots and Colts shared the old AFC East prior to the 2002 Texans expansion and subsequent divisional realignment. Had Brady and Manning stayed in the same division — and history had played out exactly as it did — we’d be prepping for Manning-Brady Bowl XXVIII this week.

(Top photo courtesy of Getty Images)