The Denver Broncos are headed to Super Bowl 50 after cornerback Bradley Roby sealed the deal with an interception on the Patriot’s last second two point conversion attempt.
Lead by a dominant defense and an inspired performance by Peyton Manning, the Broncos were able to hold off the Patriots and set up a Super Bowl date with the Carolina Panthers.
Much like the Greek hero Achilles, Tom Brady has been considered the best at what he does, an unstoppable force with accolades no other quarterback can match. But much like Achilles, Brady has a weakness, and Denver exposed it on Sunday.
When opposing defenses find ways to disrupt number 12’s ability to stand in the pocket, the Patriots immortal offense is brought back down to earth. Lead by Von Miller and his 2.5 sacks, the Denver defense was able to bring enough pressure to cause problems for the Patriots offense all day. Brady’s poor performance was a direct result of being pressured 18 times, hit 14 times and sacked on four different occasions.
The other side of the ball may not have been pretty but, Peyton Manning and the Denver offense made key plays when necessary, none bigger than Manning’s 12 yard scramble on a crucial 3rd down that flipped the field for the Broncos.
With the Patriots scoring chances coming few and far between, Brady and company were unable to capitalize on two key late fourth quarter trips into Denver territory. When asked why he decided to go for it instead of taking field goals on each trip, Belichick said, “Because of the scoring situation in the game.”
With multiple chances to put the game away, the Broncos offense became stagnant and handed the ball back to Brady one too many times. With twelve seconds remaining, a double covered Rob Gronkowski added to his spectacular performance with a touchdown in the back of the end zone.
Now trailing Denver 20-18, New England’s season came down to one play. The Patriots were forced to go for two because of an earlier missed extra point and poor situational coaching decisions by Belichick. With the season on the line for both teams, who better than former Patriot, Aqib Talib to break up the two point conversion attempt and send Denver to their second Super Bowl in three years.
The Broncos focus will now shift to the Panthers on February 7th and their matchup with another top QB in Cam Newton. When asked about the upcoming matchup with Newton, Talib said, “He’s probably the most dangerous [quarterback] in the NFL right now.”
With Roethlisberger and Brady already sitting in the Broncos’ playoff trophy case, fans will wonder if Newton will be added to the shelves or buck the bucking Broncos of their QB killing trend.