Maybe the last time Peyton Manning and Tom Brady meet in the playoffs resulted in the Denver Broncos hanging on to beat the New England Patriots, make the Super Bowl and get celebrated by a brilliant set of memes.
The Broncos did what the book says you should: Get to Brady without blitzing, which resulted in sacks and a lot of big hits, which made Brady lose his confidence and throw two interceptions and miss open throws. Manning used all he has left in him during the first half, before the Broncos went into “parking the bus” mode in the second half, which almost allowed the Patriots to take the game into overtime.
But in a game that’s about execution and making the small things happen, the Broncos were better, especially thanks to a gargantuan defensive effort. They made Rob Gronkowski look stoppable and took away the short passing game away from Brady, which is his bread and butter. Without a running game (hasn’t been there all season), it was hard for the Patriots to find an answer to the defense, until the Broncos offense itself shut down.
The dysfunctional tablets made a nice cameo appearance which obviously adds the word “gate” to it although they went out for about one play. Tony Romo stars in the memes thanks to his promise about meeting in February. Turns out Brady will be watching the Super Bowl at home, just like Romo, while Manning will try to change his losing record in the big game, something he shares in common with the Broncos franchise.