Defense Played Well
There are a number of different players/decisions/coaches you can blame for this loss, but I better not see anyone place any blame on the defense. The only reason the Patriots stayed in this game for as long as they did was because of how well the defense played, particularly in the second half. Denver only amassed 83 total yards in the second half, 30 of which coming on one C.J. Anderson scamper up the middle. They only managed four first downs as well in the half, and a measly 23 passing yards. New England completely shut down the Broncos’ rushing attack, and they were getting consistent pressure on Mr. HGH whenever he decided to drop back to pass. Jamie Collins played a hell of a game, as he had 8 tackles, 2 sacks, and 3 tackles for loss. He is a freak, and I am thankful we will get to watch him play for years to come.
Talking about Peyton for a second, here is my honest opinion: He wasn’t good, he wasn’t awful, he was just kind of there. He threw plenty of inaccurate passes (that miss to I believe Jordan Norwood in the end zone in the fourth quarter was bad), but he never made that back-breaking mistake that he usually makes in the playoffs. Manning doesn’t deserve credit for the win, because scoring a grand total of 3 points and getting 23 passing yards in the second half is just awful. His defense deserves this conference championship, and he is just along for the ride. He was solely responsible for 7 seven points (opening drive).
But congrats, Peyton. You’ll get to lose another Super Bowl by 30 points. Enjoy it.
Next: Coaching Decisions/Missed PAT