Is this a great rivalry or what? Admittedly, I feel a pride that Tom Brady holds the edge over Peyton Manning in their career duel. And we know that Peyton holds the edge in certain statistics such as career touchdowns and yards, but Tom holds the winning percentage, passer rating, and Super Bowl rings in the palm of his hand (pun intended).
Every time they meet the expectation is very high, and they have met those expectations in rare fashion.
But today would not be decided by the quarterbacks, as good as their performances were (Manning threw for 345 yards and 3 touchdowns while Brady settled for a paltry 223 yards and only 1 touchdown with a 1 yard reach-in TD as well), it was the running game that really made the difference on both sides.
Sure, three fumbles, one on a possible TD catch and run with Demarius Thomas didn't help a whole lot, but that Willis McGahee only rushing for 51 yards is hard to ignore. Dropping a 4th down toss from Manning hurt a bit too. Even with his 50 yards receiving, that is not what Denver expects from the tough veteran.
Also, we can't discount the job New England's defense did despite allowing just over 400 total yards, bending, but not breaking in typical Patriot fashion. Sterling Moore probably saved a Touchdown with his strip recovery of the Manning to Thomas pass over the middle, and the D-line did a respectable job pressuring Peyton and limiting the run option pretty well.
But the true hero of the game, even with the unfortunate fumble late in the game, is the multi-headed running attack that seems to have come out of nowhere this year. I said it last week and feel like I will be saying it a lot this year, I really like this kid Bolden. I really, really like him.
With Ridley seeming to have a tight grip on the starting job, he will face stiff competition from the rookie, who looks like a real keeper himself. Bolden may have only edged Danny Woodhead by 7 yards, but that put the Patriots' run game over 250 yards on the day- a nice follow up to last Sunday's romp over Buffalo. This is a refreshing change for a backfield that was having a good day to go over 100 yards in the previous few years.
Give the Pats' run game the Hero Award and the Broncos' run game the Zero Award for Week 5. And that's all I've got to say about that.