Broncos Stun Pats in Thriller to Reach Super Bowl 50
By Peter Santo
For the second time in three years the Patriots were forced to travel to Denver to take on the Broncos in the AFC Championship game, and for the second time in three years, it will be the Broncos representing the AFC in the Super Bowl.
Bill Belichick thought he could outsmart the Broncos defense, but in the end, the only person he outsmarted is himself.
Two years ago, the Broncos were an offensive juggernaut that simply could not be stopped by the porous Patriot defense. But tonight, tonight Denver did all they could to hand this game to the Patriots, and they couldn’t take it.
The Broncos were ahead from the word go, they were jumping snaps, disrupting Tom Brady’s rhythm, and getting in the Patriots’ heads.
For as poorly as the Patriots played, they fought until the bitter end, and the fact that they even had a chance to win was a minor miracle. The Patriots defense put together an outstanding performance, and Tom Brady and company did almost enough to steal a victory on the road.
The poor execution on the extra point in the first quarter, and poor coaching in the fourth quarter are what ultimately cost the Patriots a return trip to the Super Bowl.
Down 20-12 with 6:03 to go in the fourth quarter, the Patriots faced a 4th and 1 at the Denver 16 yard line. With three points almost certain, the Patriots elected to go for it but Julian Edelman was tackled short of the line to gain. Had the Patriots kicked a field goal, they would not have needed a two point conversion.
The Patriots faced a very similar scenario with 2:25 remaining in the game, except this time they faced 4th and 6. The decision seemed like a no brainer, take your three points and trust your defense to get a stop. But no, the Patriots elected to go for it, turned the ball over on downs, and still faced an eight point deficit.
The Patriots defense played well enough to win the game. Tom Brady was hit the hardest I’ve seen him get hit since the 2007 Super Bowl, but still kept his team in it. The team played well enough to win the game, they were simply let down by their coach.
In Bill we trust is often the mantra heard around Patriots Nation, but this game puts an end to the “Did Belichick make Brady?” debate. Tom Brady is a special quarterback, the greatest of all time, but he was let down by his coach.
As for the Broncos, this game was won by number 58 Von Miller, not number 18 Peyton Manning, and either team that comes out of the NFC will destroy Denver in the Super Bowl.
It’s on to the offseason.