Giants vs. Colts: Quick Hits
The Colts, who lost 34-24 in Houston a week ago, dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball early and took advantage of Giants first-half mistakes to pull away to a 24-0 halftime lead.
The matchup was the second between Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and his brother, Eli, the quarterback for the Giants. The Colts also won the first meeting, 26-21, in the opening game of the 2006 regular season.
And while there were many factors in the Colts' one-sided victory, Peyton Manning without question was a major reason. He was as efficient as he was in the regular-season opener against Houston a week ago, particularly in the first half, when he completed 13 of of 18 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
He finished the game completing 20 of 26 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns.
Some thoughts following Sunday's Colts-Giants game:
• The Colts were stunningly effective in the first half. Not that they haven't been as dominant at times in the past, but considering the issues they had in the regular-season opener along each line, few outsiders could have expected them to dominate the Giants on both sides of the ball. They had 18 first downs in the half to five for the Giants and led 24-0.
• Colts running back Joseph Addai again showed he is one of the NFL's most underrated running backs. He rushed for 80 yards on 13 first-half carries. He has been criticized at times in recent seasons, but he typically has run behind an ineffective line. On Sunday, with some solid blocking up front, he finished with 92 yards rushing on 20 carries and helped the Colts set the tone early.
• Giants quarterback Eli Manning should get some credit for playing as effectively as he did. He was under pressure throughout the game and still managed to complete passes and get some drives going in the second half. He finished 13 of 24 for 161 yards and two touchdowns, but probably outplayed those statistics.
• Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks was quiet much of the night, as was the entire Giants' offense. But he caught a touchdown pass late, giving him four for the season.
• The Colts' offensive line showed up big-time Sunday. After allowing two sacks and solid pressure on Peyton Manning in the opener against Houston, the unit had one of its most-effective run-blocking games in several seasons, and kept Manning from getting hit far better than last week. He was sacked just once.
• DE Dwight Freeney had a dominant game. He pressured Giants quarterback Eli Manning throughout, and had an overpowering bull rush early in the third quarter, on which he pushed Giants left tackle David Diehl into Manning. Several minutes later, Freeney beat Diehl around the edge for a sack, which forced a fumble that second-year defensive tackle Fili Moala recovered for a touchdown, giving the Colts a 31-7 lead. Freeney has dominated tackles before, so it's not a shock, but he was overwhelming at times. He finished with two sacks, as did fellow Pro Bowl end Robert Mathis.
• The Colts, who allowed 257 yards rushing against Houston in the season opener, still weren't dominant in run defense, but they played with far more energy than a week before. The run defense set the tone with an early three-and-out, and while the Giants ran effectively at times, a lot of that seemed to be because the Colts were playing pass-rush first while holding leads of 17 and 24 points much of the second half.