Can Manning Make Good?

My mom told me a popular joke yesterday: The Giants’ Eli Manning goes to his brother Peyton, QB for the Denver Broncos. The Giants are 0-6, the worst start they’ve had since 1979. Eli asks Big Bro “hey I need help – what can I do?” Peyton then simply advises: “Change your last name.”

Eli? Eli who?

Eli? Eli who?

Unfortunately for Peyton, his undefeated Broncos fell last night to his former team, the Indianapolis  Colts, 39-33 (although the Colts fans gave a classy, heartwarming pre-game tribute to the man who led them to a Super Bowl win) as he returned for the first time against the team that traded him after a season-ending neck injury.

I didn’t see much of the first half – my friend Quinn and I were analyzing her “date-that-was-not-a-date” at the Redskins game (and HUGE win over the Bears). It seemed at first the Colts were manhandling the undefeated Broncos – the score was 33-14 or something around the time I flipped the channel to “Homeland.”

When I checked back in, it was 36-30. I hoped Peyton and the Broncos’ “Four Horsemen” receiving corps of Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas and the ever-adorable Wes Welker would be able to stage a comeback – and they almost did. But Colts QB Andrew Luck held them off, finishing with 21-of-38 for 228 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.

What was also cool, in a game already full of storylines—Peyton’s return, Indy coach Chuck Pagano back in the saddle after missing last season to undergo treatments for leukemia, Decker’s reality show with wife, country singer Jessie James—was that Luck’s dad Oliver played backup quarterback for the Houston Oilers to Archie Manning, Peyton and Eli’s dad, in the early 80s.

Eli will have a chance to redeem the family name tonight against Minnesota in Monday Night Football, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.

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