Peyton Manning now has won five of six against the Patriots, and in that stretch, he's completed 63.6 percent of his passes for 1,802 yards, 13 touchdowns, six picks and 97.6 QB rating. Pretty good, especially the winning percentage there.
But as the two quarterbacks dueled tonight, it seemed like Brady had the upper hand the majority of the time ...
BRADY: 29-42, 375 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT, 110.7 rating
MANNING: 28-44, 327 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT, 97.4 rating
Brady made fewer mistakes, and had more completions with less throws. But Manning got the big one when it counted. On that play, Reggie Wayne gave his quarterback a head nod to indicate he was changing his route from a fade to a slant. The message was received, and the execution was perfect.
"I think after nine years he can trust me," Wayne said. "He was able to do that and he delivered the ball in the perfect spot, and the rest was the catch."
For most of this week, both Brady and Manning played down their individual matchup. But there was no minimizing the impact this one has on the AFC race -- Barring a collapse by Indy, it basically eliminates the Patriots from contention for the No. 1 seed in January.
"It is a huge win," Manning said. "That was the main reason we wanted to win it. Obviously, there's a lot of drama that comes with a big game. The main reason is it's an AFC team, certainly a home game. Teams in our division are winning. Tennessee is kind of getting hot. Jacksonville is getting hot. Houston, we certainly know how good a team they are. That's what we're trying to do, staying ahead of those teams."