The Patriots had Tom Brady but they needed divine intervention against the Broncos defense. People thought New England was going to apply more pressure after halftime. They were wrong; the offense was just as flaccid as it was in the first. There will be a new champion this year after Denver beat New England, 20-18.
Even though the Broncos were in control for most of the game, Rob Gronkowski nearly sent them packing with his late game ridiculousness.
The Patriots caused a quick scare in their second to last drive. A 28-yard pass to Gronkowski helped push them into the red zone, but Gronkowski couldn't pull down a jump ball in the end zone when Brady threw up a prayer off his back foot.
Gronkowski did end up in the end zone on their next and final drive. He beat coverage and converted a deep 40-yard catch on fourth down. A few plays later on another fourth down, Gronk grabbed another catch in the back of the end zone. But that missed extra point in the first half cost them; the consequent failed two-point conversion sent the Patriots home.
The rest of the game was the Denver Defense show. It's no joke, and it's even worse when Von Miller is running at 100 percent. He finished the game with 2.5 sacks and that first half interception.
Denver's defense will show up at the Super Bowl—they're barely any doubts about that. But how good will Peyton Manning be? After two first half touchdowns, he did little else on offense. 2013 Manning with the 2015 defense would've been an easy favorite. Now, the question is if Manning could hold it together for one more game—and will that be enough to defeat a dangerous NFC opponent?
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