The Denver Broncos are going to the Super Bowl.
Peyton Manning threw for 400 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Denver Broncos defeated the New England Patriots 26-16 to advance to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1998 season.
Denver’s 507 yards of total offense are the most ever given up by a Bill Belichick coached team in the post-season.
The first half was dominated by the Broncos, who led 13-3 going into the break. Since Denver deferred to start the game, the Broncos would get the ball to start the 2nd half.
A stop by the Patriots to begin the half would have been huge, but Peyton Manning would have none of it. Manning led a surgical 14-play 90-yard drive that took over 7 minutes, the longest of the season for the Broncos, that ended in a Demaryius Thomas 3-yard touchdown reception giving Denver a commanding 20-3 lead.
It took until there were 9 and a half minutes to play before the Patriots would find the end-zone. Tom Brady found Julian Edelman for a 7-yard touchdown, his first of the post-season, to cut New England’s deficit to 13.
Following a Matt Prater 54-yard field goal with just over 7 minutes to play in the 4th, the Broncos led 26-10. The Patriots would now need two touchdowns, and two 2-point conversions to tie the game.
New England would get one touchdown back off a Brady 5-yard run with 3:07 to play, but Shane Vereen was stopped short on the 2-point conversion attempt.
An ensuing Stephen Gotskowski onside kick was easily recovered by Eric Decker, and the Broncos now had a chance to run the clock out.
The Patriots were able to get a 3rd down stop, which brought up an infamous 4th and 2. John Fox went for the W, and Montee Ball ran for the first down to officially ensure Denver’s ticket to MetLife Stadium.
Peyton Manning simply out-executed and out-played Tom Brady in this game. Manning made all the big plays, while Brady struggled missing several open receivers.
New England’s running game, which had been so important over the Patriots last 3 games, was non-existent. Legarrette Blount was held to just 6-yards on 5 carries, and as a team were the Patriots were held to 64 rushing yards. The Patriots inability to run the ball led Denver to be able to have the ball nearly 11 minutes longer than New England.
After Aqib Talib exited with a rib injury in the 2nd quarter, the Pats had no answer for Demaryius Thomas who had 7 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown. Julius Thomas, who didn’t play in the first meeting, had 8 catches for 85 yards.
Peyton Manning will advance to the Super Bowl for the 3rd time in his career. He improves to 5-10 against Brady, and 2-1 against him in AFC Championship games.
The Patriots post-spy gate failures to win a Super Bowl live on.