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The proverbial monkey on Peyton Manning's back up through the previous slide had been the quarterback's inability to win in the postseason.
That changed in this time period when Manning led the Indianapolis Colts to the title in 2006.
Before that, in the 2005 season, Manning had another great year (surprise, surprise). He played so well that the Colts were able to rest him for the final two games of the regular season since they'd already wrapped up the AFC's top seed. If he'd played, Manning may have earned himself a third-straight MVP Award instead of losing out to Shaun Alexander.
In the playoffs, Manning failed to lead his team to a single playoff win as they lost in the divisional round to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The 2006 regular season saw Manning throw for 4,397 yards and a league-high 31 touchdowns. In the playoffs, he helped the Colts beat the Kansas City Chiefs, outlast the Baltimore Ravens, come back against the New England Patriots thanks to 32 second-half points and then win the Super Bowl against the Chicago Bears. Manning was named Super Bowl MVP.
What was Brady doing during all this?
Well, in 2005 Brady led the league in passing yards with 4,110 yards and 26 touchdowns although he threw a career-high 14 interceptions. In the playoffs, he tasted bitter defeat for the first time in his career, losing in the divisional round to the Denver Broncos.
Fully recovered from the sports hernia he played through during the end of the 2005 regular season and the playoffs, Brady helped his Patriots win 12 games in 2006.
After barely beating the San Diego Chargers, Brady traveled to Indianapolis for a shot at Peyton Manning's team. The Patriots led by 15 at halftime, but thanks in part to a last-minute interception by Brady, they lost the lead for good and were eliminated from the playoffs for a second-straight year.
With the monkey of his back, Manning took control of the rivalry once more. It wouldn't last for long.