EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – The Denver Broncos finished the 2012 regular season as the NFL’s hottest team and nothing has changed this year.
Peyton Manning threw two more touchdown passes and Knowshon Moreno ran for 93 yards and two scores as the Broncos unleashed another second-half onslaught to defeat the New York Giants 41-23 on Sunday.
This game was hyped the Manning Bowl III. What it showed though is that Peyton is in a class by himself and the Broncos (2-0) might have been giving the New York metropolitan-area a preview of one of the teams that will play in the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in February.
Eli and the Giants (0-2) simply are in trouble after another turnover-plagued game in which they failed to cash in on early opportunities and then made too many mistakes to stay in the game.
The Broncos were impressive in stretching their regular-season winning streak to 13 straight. They scored 35 second-half points in opening the season with a 49-27 win over the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens and they added 31 against the Giants. Tiny Trindon Holliday scampered 81 yards for a game-clinching punt return early in the fourth quarter.
“That’s a good win for us,” Peyton Manning said after beating his little brother for the third time in three games. “A good team and a tough environment to play in. We made some good second-half adjustments. That’s two weeks in a row we come out in the second half and change the tempo of the game and come out of the locker room with touchdown drives.”
The scary part for the rest of the NFL would be if the Broncos start playing complete games. They had 416 yards in total offense and picked off four passes by Eli Manning.
Things are just scary for the Giants at this point. Some may note that Tom Coughlin’s team started the 2007 season with two straight losses and won the Super Bowl. This isn’t the same team though.
“We’re way better than 0-2 but, you know, it is what it is,” Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said. “The record is 0-2. We’ve just got to get back on track. We’ve got to practice harder, run to the ball, it all starts in practice. The offense and defense have to step up and special teams, too. All three phases have to work together so that’s what we’ve got to do in practice.”
Here are five reasons the Broncos are undefeated and the Giants are winless after two weeks:
1. WHAT’S UP FRONT FOR BRONCOS: Games are won in the trenches and the Broncos are very good up front on both sides of the ball. The offense line did not allow a sack, allowing Peyton to hit 30 of 43 for 307 yards, with touchdown passes to Wes Welker and Julius Thomas. The defensive line limited New York to 23 yards on 19 carries and forced Eli to be one dimensional.
2. WHAT NOT UP FRONT FOR GIANTS: The Giants’ offensive line is in a shambles even with four starters back. Despite throwing for 362 yards, Eli Manning was doing a lot of sidestepping and scrambling on his 49 passing attempts, and running backs David Wilson and Brandon Jacobs rarely had a hole to run through, hence the 1.2 yard average.
3. MORENO IS THE BRONCOS’ PONY ON THE GROUND: After being listed as No. 3 on the depth chart, Moreno showed his toughness against the Giants with touchdown runs of 20 and 25 yards on pitches around the right end. The Belford, N.J., back also had consecutive runs of 9 and 14 yards to spark a short drive after Chris Harris intercepted a pass early in the fourth quarter off the foot of teammate Tony Carter.
4. WEATHERFORD WOES: Giants punter Steve Weatherford is one of the best in the game. He was horrible against Denver, hitting line drives on four of his five punts, and seeing Holliday return one for a touchdown. He needs to be a lot better.
5. DUMB PENALTIES: One of the few ways the Broncos are going to lose this year will be self-inflicted losses. They tried their hardest against the Giants at times, being flagged for 13 penalties for 132 yards, including four on one third-quarter Giants touchdown drive that allowed New York to get within 17-16. It’s got to stop.
By TOM CANAVAN, AP Sports Writer
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