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Denver • Peyton Manning lifted the Broncos to a rare home victory against their most detested rival. Now, the Broncos will have to help Manning come through against his personal antagonist.
Bring it on one more time: Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady.
Manning is more than ready after he sliced and diced, dinked and dunked, fired and flung the Broncos past the overmatched Raiders 37-6 on Sunday at Sports Authority Field.
The Broncos (2-2) play New England (2-2) next weekend at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Only it won't be billed Broncos versus Patriots.
Is it ever too early to start the Manning-versus-Brady hype?
"You know when you play New England that Tom is going to have his guys ready, so you know you have to be prepared to be at your best,'' Manning said.
"They've always had such a good defense every time we've played them that I've always been able to just hone in on that and not pay attention to all that."
Hype? Renewed debate about who's the best quarterback, Brady or Manning?
Until Manning came along, the Broncos were 0-4 the previous four years against the Raiders in Denver. One game with Manning, and the Broncos not only snapped their home Oakland skid, but they also made the Raiders look as though they didn't belong on the same field.
"He was just remarkable,'' said Broncos tight end Joel Dreessen, who caught Manning's first touchdown pass to finish off the game-opening possession. "He was a stud today. Finding the open person. Running that no-huddle.''
It wasn't so much Manning's stat line against the Raiders, wondrous as it was, that was impressive. It's how he went about completing 30 of 38 for 338 yards, three touchdowns and a 130.0 passer rating that wasn't far from perfect.
On a warm, sunny, late September afternoon before another sellout crowd, Manning took control of the Broncos' offense from the line of scrimmage. Thinking fast, he scanned the Raiders' defense. Even after he lost center J.D. Walton to a broken left ankle near the end of the first half, Manning continued to run the offense at an upbeat tempo. He saw the matchup he wanted. He waited. He spotted the open receiver. And he delivered.
"We wanted to play fast today,'' Manning said. "We wanted to run some of their defensive players and I thought we executed that plan well.''
Now that the Raiders no longer have the Mile High hex on the Broncos, it's on to Manning-Brady. Or is that Brady-Manning?
Brady's Pats went 7-4 in head-to-head meetings against Manning's Indianapolis Colts. But Manning won four of the past six and he's 0-0 as the Broncos' quarterback against Brady.
P Chicago atDallas6:30 p.m. TV • ESPN