Patriots Fall To the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship
by Steven Hu, from www.notsportcentre.wordpress.com
It’s been a tough day for me. As a huge Patriots fan, the 20-18 loss in Denver was a knife to the heart.
New England was the favourite in their matchup, as the return of Edelman, Amendola and Vollmer made New England the unstoppable offense it had been earlier this season. However, that was far from reality. For some reason, the Patriots’ Oline decided to not show up, allowing the Broncos defence to destroy their 38-year old captain over and over again. Von Miller harassed Brady all game, in a contest where he posted five tackles, 2.5 sacks and a interception. Brady was tackled over and again, and the Broncos pressured the all time great quarterback relentlessly. Brady posted the worst rating in his postseason career.
Peyton Manning, however, played like Tom Brady. Oh, the irony. The quarterbacks seemed to reverse their roles, as Brady played like a 2015 Peyton while “The Sheriff” played like the usual playoff Tom Brady. He threw two touchdowns to Owen Daniels in the first half, and played just good enough to elevate the Broncos to a Superbowl Berth.
For Peyton Manning, a trip to the Super Bowl would be the last thing on the list. Manning threw more touchdowns today in Mile High than the entire 2015 regular season. He is by far the worst passer in regulation stats wise, but suddenly showed up to play today. Broncos receivers also bounced back after dropping ball after ball against the Steelers. This victory surprised some of the most veteran writers, analysts and players.
Patriots’ play calling was also awful. Facing two fourth downs, Belichick and McDaniels decided to go for it, despite their offense struggling mightily, instead of kicking field goals that would avoid the two point conversion debacle later on. (Stephen Gostowski missed a field goal. I know, it’s crazy.) After failing both conversions, the Broncos ran down the clock, but gave New England one last chance inside the two minute warning.
On the final drive, Tom Brady showed the reason why he’s an all time great, throwing a deep ball to Rob Gronkowski to convert 4 & 10, and eventually the touchdown to #87 under tremendous pass rush. Unfortunately, the Patriots will not finish the game with a storybook ending, as an interception on the two-point conversion fails. The failed play gave Peyton Manning his fourth trip to the Superbowl, only to face the red-hot Carolina Panthers led by the dabbing Cam Newton.