Brady was both efficient and victorious, as his Patriots staved off Manning's Colts, 31-28, Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
Brady completed 19-of-25 passes for 186 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, while Manning was 38-for-52 for 396 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. While Manning was the better quarterback for fantasy football teams, Brady won the real-life matchup, and the Patriots (8-2) remained tied atop the AFC standings and left the Colts (6-4) at a severe disadvantage in the standings.
Manning's first two interceptions led to 10 points for the Patriots, and the last one, which fell into safety James Sanders' hands at the New England 6-yard line, ended Manning's thrilling comeback attempt. Manning threw for the ninth-most yards of his career and had at least four touchdown passes for the 22nd time, but his first interception forced the Colts to play catch-up for the entire game.
"Three interceptions, just inexcusable," Manning said. "It gave them short field on the first one and then just in the second half, when you’re playing from behind, it just kills a series.
"Those are tough circumstances to play in. We did a good job until the end, had a chance to win it, and it's just sickening that we didn’t have a chance to extend the game."
Brady completed 19 of his first 21 passes before his last four attempts hit the turf, including three misfires on third down, so he wasn’t completely perfect. Yet, Brady capitalized enough through the first three quarters to stake the Patriots to an insurmountable lead, albeit one that was in doubt in the waning seconds.
For the sake of comparison, Brady's 186 passing yards were tied for the 105th best output of his career (in 139 regular-season games), and he threw two touchdowns for the 76th time.
The Brady-Manning debate can go back and forth forever, but to this point, their legacies have been shaped in different ways. Brady is the guy with the wins, and Manning is the one with the stats.
That’s how it played out again Sunday.
"Believe me, we’re happy we won," said Brady, who wasn’t so happy about the fourth-quarter finish. "You beat the Colts, you’ve got to be happy you won."