Angst-ridden, hottie-dating, three-ring-wearing heartthrob Tom Brady had a swell game Monday night, a lot better than most of his teammates on the defensive side of the ball. Brady passed for three touchdowns and 21 points. Unfortunately, that still left New England 19 short. So after going 0-6 against Brady, and 0-7 against the Patriots in Foxborough, Peyton Manning was able to walk out of Massachusetts with a win.

This is a huge deal for Manning. Maybe this is his year. The Pats were like a big rock he couldn't budge. He'd huff and puff in New England, but all that got blown down was his reputation. By finally beating the Pats, and doing it so convincingly, Manning has overtaken Brady as the NFL's Main Man. (Oh, wait, don't tell me you thought that was T.O.'s spot! Not after yesterday's performance when T.O. offered an apology that was, sadly, five days late, and Drew Rosenhaus began shrieking like Howard Dean. "I love this man, I love this man," Rosenhaus frothed and burbled. At that point I had to wonder whether, if I were Owens, I'd want Rosenhaus "110 percent" behind me.)

It's on Peyton's racket now. Favre is mulling, McNabb is hurting, Vick is snarling, Brady is struggling with the existentialism of fame, fortune and beautiful women (oy, what a curse) and Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger and Peyton's younger brother Eli are still callow fellows.

Manning's only problem is that he's never won The Big One. He couldn't beat Florida in college. And even with the victory Monday night, he still hasn't beaten the Pats in the playoffs. That should change this year, because even if the Colts have to play the Patriots in January, it won't be in the snow and cold of New England, it will be indoors in Indianapolis. Manning can stay inside the whole way, from Indianapolis to Detroit, and finally get the red carpet treatment.

By finally beating Tom Brady and the Patriots in Foxborough, the Colts' Peyton Manning, left, has laid claim to the title of NFL's Main Man.