The AFC Championship was just decided in spectacular fashion at Denver. Spectacular, at least, if you were rooting for the Denver Broncos.
Despite a massive win over the Indianapolis Colts at home, the New England Patriots could not take that momentum with them on the road. The Patriots spent much of the game trailing with a distant three points, the defense never threatening Peyton Manning.
Tom Brady tried to get a bit of momentum going late in the second half, with the Patriots managing to put 13 points on the board in the fourth. Unfortunately for the New England team, the push would come too late as a determined Denver side would keep itself out of touching distance.
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) January 19, 2014
The Patriots come up short in the AFC Championship in Denver & drop a disappointing game to the Broncos, 26-16. #NEvsDEN
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 19, 2014
In the end, it was never actually close.
According to post-game stats, the Patriots only rushed for 67 yards, and the most of the 277 total yards by Brady came when the team was down by twenty points.
As for the Broncos, Manning had 400 yards, threw two touchdowns and had no interceptions. It was for all intents and purposes a flawless performance.
Manning is now 2-1 in AFC titles over rival Brady, and as these two accomplished quarterbacks continue to show that they have still more to give, it's very possible that the New England quarterback will be back to challenge that lead in future seasons.
It was clear almost from the beginning that this was the Denver Broncos' game to lose, and they had no intention of doing so.
The Broncos will feature in their first Super Bowl appearance since 1998, when the team bested the Atlanta Falcons for the Vince Lombardi trophy.
If Peyton Manning were to win, he would be the first starting quarterback in NFL history to lead two separate franchises to the title.
Now the Broncos wait to see whether they will have to best the San Francisco 49ers or Seattle Seahawks in what will likely be a thrilling Super Bowl match up.
Image via Jordanems Network