Well this one certainly didn't go as I expected it to, but what the hell do I know. I thought Brady and the Patriots would have their way with the Broncos and easily earn a trip to their 7th Super Bowl in the Brady/Belichick era. I did predict that the Broncos would have a lead after the first half and that the Patriots would come out in the second half and take over. That certainly was not the case, in fact the Broncos controlled the entire game for the most part. The lead should have been much larger towards the end of the game, but Manning overthrew Norwood in the endzone and the Broncos had to settle for a field goal to give them a 20-12 lead in the forth.
Brady was pressured all game and threw two horrible first half interceptions. This make-shift offensive line that the Patriots trotted out there was thought to have been fixed but that clearly wasn't the case today in the AFC championship game. Neither the Broncos or the Patriots could run the ball at all the entire game. Gostkowski even missed an extra point in just a dreadful first half for the Patriots.
One of the plays of the game was when the Patriots went for it on fourth and 1 rather than kick a field goal in cut it to 5 points late in the fourth quarter. The Broncos stopped Edelman short and turned the Patriots over on downs. It was almost a foregone conclusion that the Patriots would roll into Denver and win. Peyton Manning shut myself and the rest of the doubters up with a solid performance in the winning effort.
The Broncos defense was stellar all day and stopped the Patriots on numerous 4th downs. There were a lot of baffling decisions in this game by Belichick and many could argue that he should have just kicked the field goal to cut the lead to 5 points instead of going for it the first time. Then you go back to the Gostkowski missed extra point which forced the Patriots to go for two points at the end of the game in which they failed to convert. This one is a head-scratcher to Patriots fans, in a game that they were favored to win on the road.
Now, let us get the problem here. The fact that this game was in Denver to begin with rests solely on the shoulders of Bill Belichick. His insane onside kick call against the Eagles up 14 points set the Patriots on a 2-4 skid to close out the season, ultimately costing them home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Ed Reed stated that the only way for the Broncos to beat the Patriots was to pray. It appears that the Broncos and Peyton Manning's prayers were answered.
Broncos win 20-18 and advance to the Super Bowl.