Denver Is In The Super Bowl After Blasting Brady And The Patriots
by Daniel Calzone
Jan 20, 2014 12:27 PM EST
Peyton Manning and the Broncos handled Tom Brady and the Patriots in an AFC Championship game that was thoroughly controlled by Denver throughout. New England showed very little life in the contest, and the Broncos proved that they were interested in more than just regular season dominance. The final score was 26-16 Denver, but it felt like a much wider margin than that.
For the second week in a row the Broncos held their opponent to 0 TD in the first 3 quarters. It wasn’t until the 9:26 mark in the fourth that the Pats got into the end zone against this much-maligned Broncos defense. The way this unit has come together and played unbelievably well has to be one of the biggest surprises of this post season so far.
Neither team had a turnover in the game, but it was the Broncos who did a better job protecting their quarterback. The Pats’ pass rush was anemic, and they failed to sack Manning once in the game. This Denver pass blocking unit continues to dominate and protect their star quarterback. The Broncos defense is playing extremely well right now, and Knighton’s sack of Brady on a New England fourth down attempt in the third quarter was one of the biggest momentum shifters in this game.
The Patriots finally showed some life in the fourth quarter, but when Shaun Phillips stuffed Vereen on a two-point conversion attempt late in the fourth, the game was all but over. A successful conversion would have put the Pats within a score of the Broncos with just over three minutes remaining. Brady was a little off in his third AFC championship battle with Manning. His stat line (24-of-38 for 277 yards and a TD) looked pretty good, but he ultimately failed to throw accurate deep balls and make the plays in the passing game he needed to make in order to go to his sixth Super Bowl.
The Broncos dominated the action, passing all over this New England secondary. Aqib Talib exited the game early with a rib injury and opened the floodgate for Demaryius Thomas and this passing game to dominate. Talib is the only corner the Pats have that can truly match up with Demaryius, who has emerged as one of the top receiving threats in the NFL these past few seasons playing alongside Manning. Thomas had 7 catches for 134 yards and a score. Future Hall of Fame cornerback Champ Bailey, in his 15th season, will finally play in his first Super Bowl.
So, Manning isn’t clutch, huh? Peyton made all the throws he needed to win this game en route to 400 yards passing, 2 TD and the Lamar Hunt trophy. It was business as usual for this Denver offense. The Peyton haters will be mum for at least the next few days until Super Bowl matchup talks begin to heat up, and people start unreasonably doubting his clutch factor again.