The New York Giants lost the Manning Bowl to the Indianapolis Colts, but their Big Apple rivals the Jets backed up their bold talk with a big win over the New England Patriots on Sunday.
Quarterback showdowns took the spotlight in an action-packed second week in the NFL, as the Colts’ Peyton Manning provided little brother Eli with a quarterbacking master class, tossing three touchdowns as Indianapolis cut down the Giants 38-14.
In New York, second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez silenced his critics by out-dueling Tom Brady, leading the Jets to a 28-14 victory over the Patriots.
“This team is a lot tougher than people think,” Jets head coach Rex Ryan told reporters. “We’ve got great resolve and we’ll find a way to get it done. We don’t make excuses.”
The Jets scored 21 unanswered points to the delight of nearly 80,000 spectators at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
Sanchez completed 21 of 30 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns, while Brady was 20-of-36 for 248 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted twice.
“This is a huge game for us,” Ryan said. “We’re back to being who we think we are.”
While the Jets (1-1) and Sanchez were breathing a little easier, the Minnesota Vikings (0-2) were licking their wounds after quarterback Brett Favre fumbled the ball inside his own end-zone in a 14-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins (2-0).
The Vikings made the NFC title game last year under Favre’s direction, but are already playing catch-up after NFC North rivals the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears both improved to 2-0.
“I didn’t envision starting off 0-2, but I knew it would be very difficult,” said Favre, who spent the off-season deciding whether or not to return for his 20th NFL campaign.
Favre completed 22 of 36 passes for 225 yards and was intercepted three times. Linebacker Koa Misi recovered Favre’s fumble in the end-zone to score with six minutes left in the third quarter and give Miami a 14-0 lead.
The Packers thrashed the Buffalo Bills 34-7, despite the absence of tailback Ryan Grant and defensive end Justin Harrell, who were injured against Philadelphia last week.
Aaron Rodgers passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another and finished with 255 yards through the air.
The Bears chalked up their second win of the season with a 27-20 win over the Dallas Cowboys (0-2) in Texas.
Jay Cutler threw for 277 yards and three touchdowns for the Bears, while Dallas quarterback Tony Romo completed 35 of 51 passes for 374 yards and a touchdown, but threw two first-half interceptions.
The Cowboys lost to the Washington Redskins last weekend, marking the first time since 2001 they have been beaten in their first two games of the season.
“You sit there and you wonder if you’re ever going to win a football game when you get to this point,” Romo said.
“We’ve got to do things better and we need to figure it out in a hurry,” he said.
Michael Vick completed 21 of 34 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns to lead the visiting Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) to a 35-32 victory over the Detroit Lions (0-2).
“You play the game over and over in your mind during the week, maybe 400 or 500 times,” said Vick, who served time in prison and was suspended by the NFL for his involvement in an illegal dog-fighting ring.
The Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) recovered from losing starting quarterback Dennis Dixon to a knee injury in the second quarter to beat the Tennessee Titans 19-11, while Ryan Succop booted his third field-goal of the game with 7 minutes, 41 seconds left as the Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) held on for a 16-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns.