A lot of the talk heading into the AFC Championship Game circulated around Peyton Manning's and Tom Brady's history against one another with Brady having a 10-4 edge. Denver had blown a 24-0 lead in Week 12 against New England that saw the Patriots comeback to defeat the Broncos. Denver made sure this time around they would not let New England have any chance of making a comeback as they controlled nearly every aspect of the game (Points, time of possession, offense, defense).
After taking a 3-0 lead on a Matt Prater Field Goal (FG), the Broncos forced the Patriots to punt after having two 3 & Outs to start the game. Denver would start at the New England 7 and go on a long drive that covered 7:01 on the possession. Denver used a good mixture and balance of passing and running plays (58 Passing yards 30 Rushing yards) to move the ball and finished the drive with Manning finding Jacob Tamme for a 1 yd TD pass, putting Denver up by 10. New England and Denver would exchange FG's before the half, giving the Broncos a 13-3 lead and possession first to start the 2nd half.
Denver opened up the 2nd half and chewed up another possession that went over 7 minutes long! (7:08) Manning had 53 passing yards on the drive and hooked up Demaryius Thomas three times for 22 yards, the third going for a TD to put the Broncos up 20-3! Brady and the Patriots offense tried to respond with a score of their own, but would turn the ball over on downs on a 4th & 3 from the Denver 29 after a sack by Terrance Knighton. Denver would put together a nice 60 yard drive that lasted a little over 5 minutes, coming away with three more points to put the Broncos up 23-3.
Brady and the Patriots would not go down without a fight! New England went 80 yards in just 2:36 that was capped off by a TD Reception by Julian Edelman, trimming the Denver lead to 23-10. After holding Denver to another FG, New England would try to put together another scoring drive and hopefully bring it to a one possession game. Tom Brady would account for 55 passing yards and finished of the drive with a 5 yard scramble for a TD! Down 26-16, needing to go for two to bring it to a one score game, New England's Shane Vereen appeared he was going to find his way across the goal line but was suddenly stopped short and Tom Brady put his hands over his head knowing that was the game!
New England would attempt an onside kick which Denver would go on recover. Despite having three timeouts, the Patriots could do nothing as they had to burn all three as the Broncos continued to move the chains and eventually burn out the clock as Denver held on to win the AFC Championship and await to see who they will meet in Super Bowl 48 between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks!
Picture via Bleacher Report Twitter https://twitter.com/BleacherReport/status/425041049220685826/photo/1
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