With Sunday fast approaching, I wanted to reminisce and rank every Manning/Brady match-up 1 through 16, as well as both quarterback’s top three individual performances. It has been a wild ride; both future members of the Hall of Fame have spent time in the sun and rain (and snow) while having career games and days to forget. I hope next Monday morning we have a new #1 ranked game – but even if we don’t, I sure have enjoyed growing up with these legends as the faces of the NFL.

That said, let’s get to it:

#16. November 2, 2014

Patriots 43 Broncos 21 in New England


This game might be ranked last, but not because the duo didn’t light up the air. The Patriots dominated the 2nd quarter 24-0, including two of Brady’s four TD passes on the day. Manning threw for 438 yards in the loss, but it wasn’t close to being enough and New England rolled in the most recent match-up.

Manning: 34 of 57 for 438 yards 2 TD, 2 INT
Brady: 33 of 53 for 333 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT

*Brady’s #2 ranked performance

#15. September 30, 2001

Patriots 44 Colts 13 in New England


In the one that started it all, the Patriots ran off to a 23-0 lead, including an Otis Smith pick six off Manning (one of his three INT on the day and two INT returned for TD). Manning made a few poor decisions and Brady managed the game in their first head to head (and Brady’s first start). Possibly the worst match-up, but how could we rank the first one last?

Brady 13 of 23 for 168 0 TD 0 INT

Manning 20 of 34 for 196 1TD 3INT (10 yd TD run)

#14. October 7, 2012

Patriots 31 Broncos 21 in New England


Five games into the 2012 season, it looked as though the Peyton Manning Broncos experiment was going to be a failure. In his first season back after neck surgery, Manning and the Broncos lost three of their first five games, including this one to Brady and the Patriots. Neither quarterback played spectacularly, but neither played bad. The outcome was never in question as Brady led the Patriots to a as large as a 24 point lead by completing 23 of 31 for 223 yards and a couple touchdowns, one by air and one on the ground. This match-up is significant, however, because Manning and the Broncos wouldn’t lose again in the regular season, silencing critics and ensuring more games appear on this list.

Manning: 31 of 44 for 337 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT (lost a fumble)

Brady: 23 of for 223 yards,  1 TD, 0 INT, 1 yd TD rush

#13. October 21, 2001

Patriots 38 Colts 17 in Indianapolis


In their second match up, and second of the 2001 season the Patriots again jumped out to a big lead and never looked back. Up 28-3 at one point, Manning brought the Colts within 14 twice but couldn’t pull the comeback off.

Brady 16 for 20 for 202 3 TD 0 INT

Manning 22 for 34 for 335 1 TD 0 INT

Fun fact WR David Patten threw a 60 yd TD pass

#12. January 16 , 2005

AFC Divisional Round

Patriots 20 Colts 3 in New England

Brady celebrates after his touchdown run

In the AFC Divisional round, on a snowy day in Foxboro, the Patriots (and the snow) completely shut down Manning and the Colts as the held the MVP touchdown-less for the first time that season. The Patriots and Brady controlled the game on the ground via Corey Dillon and Brady did all that was needed from him as they cruised to another AFC Championship game and eventually their third Super Bowl in just four years.

Brady: 18 for 27 for 144, 1 TD, 0 INT, (1 yd TD rush)

Manning: 27 for 42 for 238, 0 TD, 1 INT

#11. January 18, 2004

AFC Championship

Patriots 24 Colts 14 in New England


In the first playoff match-up between the duo, the AFC Championship was on the line. Frankly put, Manning had a day to forget. He threw four interceptions (three by Ty Law). Brady had a solid day in the cold Foxboro conditions and the game would not have been close if New England could have finished some drives with touchdowns instead of Adam Vinatieri’s five field goals. The Patriots rolled on to another Super Bowl.

Brady 22-37 237 yds 1TD 1INT

Manning 23-47 237 1TD 4INT

#10. November 21, 2010

Patriots 31 Colts 28 in New England


In the final Colts match-up of the rivalry, Brady’s Patriots withstood a late Colt comeback to hold on to the victory. Aside from three interceptions, Manning had a monster day, throwing for 396 yards and four scores. Brady threw two touchdown passes (including one to Aaron Hernandez) and was able to rely on some big plays in the ground game. Manning led a late drive deep into New England territory, but threw a decisive interception allowing Brady to line up in victory formation and run the clock out. This would mark the end of the Colts-Patriots chapter of the Manning/Brady rivalry.

Brady: 19 of 25 for 186 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT

Manning: 38 of 52 for 396, 4 TD, 3 INT

#9. January 19, 2014

AFC Championship

Broncos 26 Patriots 16 in Denver

Manning celebrates a return to the Super Bowl

The fifteenth meeting was also Manning and Brady’s third match-up in an AFC Championship. While Brady was solid, this game was all about Manning. The Bronco quarterback picked right up where the last AFC Championship matchup ended, completing 32 of 43 for 400 yards and two touchdowns. The game was never really in question as the Broncos held a twenty point lead as late as the forth quarter, but Manning’s passing feats, along with the stakes of the game, are plenty to land it in our top ten. With this win Manning took his first lead in the head-to-head rivalry, pulling ahead of Brady two to one in AFC Championships.

*Manning’s #2 ranked performance

#8. November 5, 2006

Colts 27 Patriots 20 in New England

The Colt defense celebrates one of four Brady interceptions

In Brady’s worst performance in the rivalry, Manning earned his second consecutive win over Brady. Brady threw four interceptions, including one on the final drive which had started out promising. Manning threw a touchdown pass in each half and the Colts defense held strong.

Manning: 20 for 36 for 326, 2 TD, 1 INT

Brady: 20 for 35 for 201, 0 TD, 4 INT

#7. November 7, 2005

Colts 40 Patriots 21 in New England


Finally. Manning came out victorious over Brady for the first time, but not without some fight from Brady, who had an impressive day of his own. This time it was Manning and the Colts that jumped out to the big, early lead. With the Colts up as much as 28-7 in the third quarter, Brady and New England worked it down to a thirteen point game, but that was as close as it got. Both threw three touchdowns and performed very well but Manning finally broke through for the W.

Manning: 28 for 37 for 321, 3 TD, 1 INT

Brady: 22 for 33 for 265, 3 TD, 0 INT

#6. September 9, 2004

Patriots 27 Colts 24 in New England

Wilfork’s 4th quarter fumble recovery

In the 2004 NFL season opener on Thursday Night Football, Brady had a terrific night, throwing two big touchdowns in the third quarter. Manning and the Colts might have stolen the night if not for a ROOKIE by the name of Vince Wilfork recovering an Edgerrin James fumble on the New England 1 yard line late in the fourth quarter, preventing at least a game tying field goal. The Colts got another chance with 1:43 and after a 45 yard Manning to Brandon Stokley completion, the Colts looked like they had a chance to tie, but a 48 yard Mike Vanderjagt field goal went wide right.

Brady: 26 for 38 for 335, 3 TD, 1 INT

Manning: 16 for 29 for 256, 2 TD, 1 INT

*Brady’s #3 ranked performance

#5. November 4, 2007

Patriots 24 Colts 20 in Indianapolis


Brady overcame two interceptions to break Manning’s three game win streak with a fantastic fourth quarter comeback after trailing 20-10 with under 10:00 to play. Brady threw two fourth quarter touchdown passes, one to Wes Welker on a drive of 73 yards and one to Kevin Faulk on a drive of 51 yards, to vault the Patriots to victory. Manning played decently but turned the ball over twice, including a fumble on the final drive, ending the Colts chance to steal back the win.

Brady: 21 of 32 for 255, 3 TD, 2 INT

Manning: 16 of 27 for 225, 1 TD, 1 INT

#4. November 15, 2009

Colts 35 Pats 34 in Indianapolis


In this thriller the Colts outscored the Patriots 21-3 in the final 14 minutes of the game to win 35-34, led by Manning’s two touchdowns passes and 119 yards passing in the fourth quarter. Despite the loss, Brady put up a humongous performance, throwing for 375 yards – but he needed about one yard more when New England gambled and went for it on fourth and two on their own 28 yard line. This turnover on downs gave Manning and the Colts a short field, and they capitalized with a 1-yard Manning to Reggie Wayne connection with just 0:13 to play.

Manning: 28 of 44 for 327 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT

Brady: 29 of 42 for 375 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT

#3. November 24, 2013

Patriots 34 Broncos 31 (OT) in New England


In the only overtime game of the series, Manning and the Broncos took a 24-0 lead into the locker room at halftime on the back of a 60-yard Von Miller fumble return for a touchdown and a Manning touchdown pass. However, the second half was a different story as Brady revived the Patriots with three touchdown passes to score 31 unanswered points to lead 31-24. Then it was Manning’s turn to lead a comeback. He drove the Broncos 80 yards in four and a half minutes, capping the drive off with an 11-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas to force overtime. In the ensuing overtime, teams swapped punts until Denver’s Tony Carter muffed a punt inside Denver’s 20 yard line. Three plays later Stephen Gostkowski nailed a 31-yard field goal to give New England the victory.

Manning: 19 of 36 for 150 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT

Brady: 34 of 50 for 344 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT (lost a fumble)

*Brady’s #1 ranked performance

#2. November 30, 2003

Patriots 38 Colts 34 in Indianapolis

McGinest and co. wrap up James at the goal line

A goal line stand as time expires is tough to beat, and that is why only the 2007 AFC Championship game could top it. The first matchup in which both gunslingers played very well, they went back and forth after the Patriots jumped out to a 17-3 lead. It would have been a one touchdown game going into halftime after Manning threw an 8-yard TD pass to Marcus Pollard with :12 on the clock, but Bethel Johnson returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards to send the Patriots into the locker room with a 24-10 lead. With the help of two Brady interceptions, Manning threw three second half touchdowns as he rallied the Colts from down 31-10 to tie the game 31-31 with 10:21 to play. However, Brady fired back throwing the eventual game winning touchdown pass with eight and a half minutes left. Manning and the Colts cut the lead to 38-34 and got the ball back with over two minutes to play. With the help of Marvin Harrison and Edgerrin James, Manning drove down to the New England two yard line. With only seconds left on fourth and goal, Willie McGinist stuffed James to seal the goal line stand and preserve the Patriot victory.

Brady 26 for 35 for 236 2 TD 2INT

Manning 29 for 48 for 278 4TD 1INT

*Manning’s #1 ranked performance

#1. January 21, 2007

AFC Championship

Colts 38 Patriots 34 in Indianapolis


In the third playoff meeting and second AFC Championship, Manning and the Colts stormed back from a 21-3 second quarter deficit to capture a Super Bowl birth with a final score of 38-34. Manning overcame a second quarter pick-six to Asante Samuel by throwing for 349 yards and one touchdown while adding another touchdown on the ground (a 1 yard sneak of course). The Colts tied it up at 21-21 after the Manning touchdown pass to defensive tackle Dan Klecko and then a successful two point conversion pass to Marvin Harrison. Brady regained the lead with a six yard toss only to be tied by a Jeff Saturday touchdown. The teams would exchange field goals, and down 34-31 with 2:17 remaining, Manning marched the Colts down to the New England 3-yard line from the Indianapolis 20, and Joseph Addai punched it in for the go ahead touchdown, 38-34. Brady got the ball back with 0:54 and started driving, but Manning and the Colts were finally Super Bowl bound when Brady was picked off at the Indianapolis 35 with 0:16.

Manning: 27 for 47 for 349, 1 TD, 1 INT (1 yd TD rush)

Brady: 21 for 34 for 232, 1 TD, 1 INT

*Manning’s #3 ranked performance


Will Mahaffey