Manning, Broncos Bowl Bound
Peyton Manning didn’t let Bill Belichick and Tom Brady get the better of him this time.
The regular season MVP passed for exactly 400 yards and two touchdown passes, completing 32 of 43 pass attempts to lead the Denver Broncos to a 26-16 AFC Championship win, and a ticket to Super Bowl 48.
The Manning – Brady matchup was the key storyline entering the game. Brady still has the all-time advantage heads-up, winning 10 of the 15 games between the two, each has two postseason wins over the other but Manning has two of the three AFC Championship meetings.
After punting on it’s first possession, Denver put together six consecutive scoring drives, including a TD march in the second quarter that took 7:01 off the clock and another to open the second half that lasted 7:08.
It added up to a 35:44 – 24:16 time of possession advantage that kept Tom Brady sitting on the bench and fewer opportunity to get the Patriots’ offense flowing.
Both of New England’s touchdowns came in the fourth quarter, a seven-yard scoring reception for Julian Edelman and a five-yard scramble for Brady. But the Patriots were stuffed on the two-point attempt that would have made it a one score game.
The Broncos’ Eric Decker caught the ensuing on-side attempt and Manning and company iced the remaining three-plus minutes.
Demariyus Thomas had a game high 134 receiving yards on seven catches with Julius Thomas had 85 and eight grabs.
Edelman led New England’s wideouts with ten receptions and 89 yards. Brady finished with 277 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.