In honor of the AFC Championship battle between the Patriots and Broncos coming up this Sunday, and the 15th installment of Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning, it only seems appropriate to revisit the best games between the two. With four Super Bowls, six MVP awards, and a countless number of games between the two teams coming down to the wire, there is no doubt that Brady vs. Manning is one of the greatest rivalries in NFL history.
1. 2006 AFC Championship Game: Colts 38, Patriots 34
After falling behind 21-3, Manning’s 349 yards and one score helped lead his Colts to an 18-point comeback to advance to the Super Bowl. The comeback is tied for the fifth-largest in playoff history, and remains the biggest comeback in a Conference Championship Game.
2. 2009 Week 10: Colts 35, Patriots 34
Commonly known as the “4th and 2 game,” the Patriots led the Colts by six with 2:08 left in the game. Bill Belichick decided to go for it on 4th and 2 from his own 28 yard line. Tom Brady’s pass to Kevin Faulk came up just a yard short, giving the ball back to Manning, who threw the game-winning touchdown to Reggie Wayne just a few plays later to complete the Colts’ 17-point comeback.
3. 2013 Week 12: Patriots 34, Broncos 31
In Manning’s second duel with Brady as a member of the Denver Broncos, Manning and company looked like they had finished things up early, jumping out to a 24-0 lead at halftime. Brady led a surging comeback in the second half, eventually tying the game up at 31 to send the game into overtime for the first time in the Brady vs. Manning series. Stephen Gostkowski would later kick a field goal in overtime to lift the Patriots to the 34-31 victory.
4. 2003 Week 13: Patriots 38, Colts 34
The Colts had first-and-goal at the Patriots’ 2-yard-line with less than a minute remaining, but a fantastic four play stand (including stuffing Edgerrin James three times) at the goal-line by the Pats defense sealed the game for New England. Manning also threw for four scores in the losing effort, becoming the first player to do so against Bill Belichick’s Patriots.
5. 2007 Week 9: Patriots 24, Colts 20
The 8-0 Patriots faced the 7-0 Colts, the latest in a season that two undefeated teams had ever faced off in NFL history. The Colts stymied the Patriots’ dynamic offense, getting out to a 20-10 lead in the fourth quarter. Brady and company eventually scored on a Wes Welker touchdown catch, and forced the Colts to punt on their next posession. The Patriots scored again on a Kevin Faulk touchdown catch, taking the lead 24-20. Manning got the ball back with one last shot to win the game, but threw an interception on the first play to seal the Colts’ fate.
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Sports-Kings Down and Distance contributor Dylan Veltkamp @DylanVeltkampSK
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