Go see the rest
Go see the rest
Peyton Manning had an answer for everyone. What’s new? For Tom Brady. For the New England defense. For anyone who thought he couldn’t win the big one.
Manning is taking the Denver Broncos on a trip to New York for the Super Bowl after another of his impeccably crafted victories – this time, a 26-16 win over the Patriots on Sunday in the AFC title game.
Less than three years after being unable to throw a football because of his surgically ravaged neck and nerve endings, Manning will get a chance for his second ring. He’ll try to become the first quarterback to win one with two different teams, at the Meadowlands on Feb. 2 against Seattle or San Francisco, who play later Sunday for the NFC championship.
After taking the final knee, Manning stuffed the football in his helmet and ran to the 30-yard line to shake hands with Brady. The Indy-turned-Denver quarterback improved to 5-10 lifetime against New England’s QB but 2-1 in AFC title games.
It was far from a fireworks show in this, the 15th installment of the NFL’s two best quarterbacks of their generation. But Manning, who finished 32 for 43 for 400 yards and two short touchdown passes, set up four field goals by Matt Prater and put his stamp on this one with a pair of long, meticulous and mistake-free touchdown drives in which nothing came cheap.
Manning geared down the no-huddle, hurry-up offense that helped him set records for touchdown passes and yardage this season and made the Broncos the highest-scoring team in history. The result: A pair of scoring drives that lasted a few seconds over seven minutes; they were the two longest, time-wise, of the season for the Broncos (15-3).
Manning capped the second with a 3-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas – who got inside the overmatched Alfonzo Dennard and left his feet to make the catch – for a 20-3 lead midway through the third quarter.
From there, it was catch-up time for Brady and the Pats, and they are not built for that.
A team that averaged more than 200 yards on the ground the last three weeks didn’t have much quick-strike capability. Brady, who threw for most of his 277 yards in comeback mode, actually led the Patriots to a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. But they were a pair of time-consuming, 80-yard drives. The second cut the deficit to 26-16 with 3:07 left, but the Broncos stopped Shane Vereen on the 2-point conversion and the celebration was on in Denver.
The trip to New York, where it figures to be at least a tad cooler than Sunday’s 63-degree reading at kickoff, will come 15 years after John Elway rode off into the sunset with his second straight Super Bowl victory.
The Broncos have had one close call since – when they lost at home to Pittsburgh in the 2005 title game – but what it really took was Elway’s return to the franchise in 2011. He slammed the door on the Tim Tebow experiment and signed Manning to a contract, knowing there were risks involved in bringing to town a thirtysomething quarterback coming off multiple operations to resurrect his career.
Even without Von Miller on the field, Elway put enough pieces in place around Manning to contend for a championship.
And Manning knows how to make the most of them.
This game started getting out of hand at about the same time Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib went out with a knee injury. Nobody else could cover Thomas and Manning, who finds mismatches even under the toughest of circumstances, found this one quickly.
Thomas finished with seven catches for 134 yards, including receptions of 26 and 27 yards that set up a field goal for a 13-3 lead before the half.
Denver got the ball back to start the third quarter – working the plan to perfection after winning the coin toss and deferring the choice – and Manning hit Thomas for 15 and 4 yards as part of the 80-yard, 7:08 touchdown drive that gave Denver the 17-point lead.
The thought this week was that the Patriots were playing with house money, having well exceeded expectations for a team that lost a number of stars – Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski – and has been plagued by injuries all year.
But a loss is a loss and facts are facts. Bill Belichick is stuck on three titles and hasn’t won one since the NFL busted him for the Spygate videotaping scandal.
The Broncos, meanwhile, got over a big hump last week by beating the Chargers in the divisional round, which is where last year’s trip fizzled unexpectedly against Baltimore.
Manning insisted the showdown against Brady was more Broncos vs. Patriots than Manning vs. Brady. He lets others decide who’s the greatest at this or that.
But he earned a chance to improve on his already-sterling legacy, one that figures to include a fifth MVP award come Super Bowl week.
A win at MetLife Stadium would put him in the same company as his brother, Eli, along with Elway, Roger Staubach and others as a two-time Super Bowl winner.
The Houston Texans barely escaped at home Saturday, eeking out a 19-13 win. Bengals QB Andy Dalton just missed a TD connection with wideout A.J. Green late in the game that would have given Cincy the lead.
Matt Schaub made his first postseason start a successful one when Foster’s 1-yard touchdown in the third quarter helped the Texans to a 19-13 AFC wild-card win over the Bengals on Saturday.
“The whole stadium knew we had to line up and run the ball and boy, he was at his best there at the end,” coach Gary Kubiak said. “He’s become a fine, fine player, and it just seems like the bigger it gets, the better Arian gets.”
Now comes the big test.
The Texans (13-4) move on to the second round on Jan. 13, when they visit the New England Patriots, who beat them 42-14 in Week 14. This time they’re 9 1/2-point underdogs.
Houston will be lucky if they do not get blown out against the Pats.
Maybe everyone else in the NFC, too.
Aaron Rodgers, Charles Woodson and the Packers reminded everyone of how dangerous they can be when they’re at full strength Saturday night, overwhelming the Vikings 24-10 in an NFC wild-card game that was never really close.
“Our defense played great,” Rodgers said. “Our defense tonight played at a championship level and that’s what you need in the playoffs.”
The Pack/Niners should be an awesome game, very close and high scoring.
Giants 35 Pats 27!
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I hate the Pats, I hate the Giants, but maybe Adrienne’s stuffed jalapenos might save the day Of course, Adrienne did not invite Ed or I over, DAMN! Guess I have to open a can of Spam or something
New England quarterback Tom Brady scored on a 1-yard run with 11:29 to play on Sunday to give the Patriots a 23-20 NFL playoff victory over Baltimore and their seventh trip to the Super Bowl.
The outcome was not decided until Baltimore kicker Billy Cundiff missed wide of the left upright on an attempt at an equalizing 32-yard field goal with 11 seconds remaining.
Brady, who will match John Elway with a record five career Super Bowl starts, improved to 10-2 in home playoff games and 5-1 in American Conference finals over his 11 seasons as a starter for New England.
The Patriots will face the winner of Sunday’s later National Conference final between the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants in Super Bowl 46 on February 5 at Indianapolis, Indiana.
New England has won the Super Bowl three times, all under Brady’s direction, in 2002, 2004 and 2005. The Patriots lost the championship spectacle in 1986, 1997 and 2008, when their bid for a perfect season was spoiled by the Giants.
Brady dived over his blockers on a fourth-down play inches from the goal line for a touchdown that gave the Patriots a 23-20 lead with 11:29 remaining, capping an 11-play, 63-yard drive.
New England’s Brandon Spikes intercepted a Joe Flacco pass on Baltimore’s next drive to give the Patriots the ball at midfield, only to have Jimmy Smith intercept a Brady pass on the next play to give the ball back to the Ravens.
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh chose not to have Cundiff attempt a 51-yard field goal, having seen him make only 1-of-6 from beyond 50 yards all season. But Flacco was incomplete on a fourth-down-and-six-yard pass play.
The Patriots took over with 2:45 remaining, but could not run out the clock, setting the stage for Baltimore’s final drive, which ended in heartbreak on two Flacco incompletions and Cundiff’s miss.
Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 35-yard field goal with 3:00 to play in the second quarter to give New England a 13-10 half-time lead and added another from 24 yards six minutes into the third quarter.
The Ravens responded with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Smith, taking their first lead at 17-16 with 5:49 to play in the third.
Smith caught the pass at the line of scrimmage, evaded one defender and outraced another along the sideline to the front edge of the end zone.
Baltimore got the ball back after the ensuing kickoff when New England’s Danny Woodhead fumbled and the Ravens’ Emanuel Cook recovered, setting up a 39-yard Cundiff field goal for a 20-16 edge entering the fourth quarter.
Benjarvus Green-Ellis had scored on an 7-yard run only 4:25 into the second quarter to give New England a 10-3 lead. Green-Ellis ran for 36 yards on the Patriots’ 13-play touchdown drive.
Baltimore answered just 4:32 later, pulling level at 10-10 when Flacco completed his seventh consecutive pass, a 6-yard touchdown toss to Dennis Pitta, to complete an 8-play, 80-yard drive.
The Ravens’ first penalty in 180 plays wiped out an interception on New England’s first drive across midfield, a 13-play march that ended on a 29-yard Gostkowski field goal for a 3-0 Patriots lead with only 9:11 elapsed.
Baltimore’s Lardarius Webb picked off Brady on the next New England series and Flacco followed with a 42-yard pass to Smith that set up a 20-yard Cundiff field goal two plays into the second quarter.
……………………..Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots
………………………..New York Giants @ San Francisco 49ers
………………………——— Weeks 1 – 17 Picks (Totals) ——— 179 Wins –
77 Losses ———
Poor Chris, those Super dreams are all but gone, but at least he is not a Eagles fan
Life is tough when you’re a Jets fan. That’s all I’m gonna say about last night’s game.
How can Rex Ryan and Co. get to the Super Bowl now? Buy a ticket!
Last week Eli and the Giants creamed the Pats; this week the Pats whacked the Jets, and the 49ers showed Eli who’s boss. Hey, maybe the Niners will give Green Bay a run for their money…
Hey Chrism I can empathize, my Gators are rebuilding, it sucks!
The Jets talked all week leading up to their playoff game in New England. Sunday, they made one of the biggest statements in franchise history.
After a week filled with trash talk and personal insults, the Jets stunned the No. 1 seed Patriots in a 28-21 divisional playoff victory that pushed them to a second consecutive straight AFC Championship Game.
Rex Ryan, who said on Monday this game was a matter of him vs. Bill Belichick, outcoached Bill Belichick with a defensive game plan that stymied Tom Brady. He celebrated the biggest victory of his two years with the Jets by running into the end zone after Shonn Green’s 16-yard TD capped the scoring and the upset.
But it was the defense that made the win possible.
The sixth-seeded Jets sacked New England’s Superman five times and picked him off to help set up next week’s road showdown against the Steelers. The Jets defeated the Steelers on the road in Week 15.
Mark Sanchez (16-for-25; 194 yards) threw three touchdowns and outplayed Brady, the likely league MVP.
After sleepwalking through much of the third quarter, the Patriots came alive late in the frame to cut into a 14-3 halftime deficit. Brady engineered an 8-play, 80-drive capped by Alge Crumpler’s 2-yard touchdown with 13 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Patriots’ decision to go for the 2-point conversion paid off when Sammy Morris took a direct snap into the end zone to get the home team to within 14-11.
But the Jets answered with a quick – and incredible – touchdown drive to gain back the momentum.
Sanchez hit Jerricho Cotchery for a 58-yard strike before he threw a 7-yard TD pass to Santonio Holmes to push the Jets lead to 21-11 two minutes into the fourth quarter.
Holmes, with a catch that ranks right up there with his Super Bowl winning catch two years ago, made a spectacular diving grab over Kyle Arrington and got his knee and foot in bounds.
Sanchez overcame a sluggish start with a pair of second-quarter touchdown passes to LaDainian Tomlinson and Braylon Edwards to help the Jets hold a 14-3 halftime lead. Ryan’s defense confused Brady with a blend of blitzes and coverage. In the first half, the Jets sacked Brady three times, picked him off and held the Patriots to 2-of-7 on third downs (29 percent) to take a double-digit lead.
In a surprising move, Belichick benched Wes Welker at the start of the game for his subtle jabs at Ryan earlier in the week.
The Patriots marched down to the Jets 28 on their first drive before Brady was intercepted for the first time in 12 games. Brady had thrown 339 passes without a pick before David Harris caught the overthrown pass intended for BenJarvus Green-Ellis. It was only Brady’s fifth interception of the season – and the 11th turnover by the Patriots.
Alge Crumpler chased down Harris and saved a touchdown on the play. The Jets took over at the Patriots 12, but lost eight yards on the first two plays from scrimmage. Gang Green squandered a golden scoring opportunity when Nick Folk missed a 30-yard field goal to keep the game scoreless.
The Patriots marched down the field again on the ensuing drive. Brady’s 28-yard completion to Crumpler helped New England get inside the Jets 10. But Crumpler dropped a perfectly thrown pass in the endzone before the Patriots settled for Shayne Graham’s 30-yard field goal late in the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead.
The Jets trailed only by a field goal after the first quarter despite getting outgained 104-36 and only having two first downs.
Ryan’s defense confused Brady early with three sacks three minutes into the second quarter. Shaun Elllis had a pair of sacks and Drew Coleman, playing with a sore knee, came free on a corner blitz for a sack.
Sanchez completed 3 of 4 passes on the Jets’ first scoring drive, including a 7-yard touchdown to Tomlinson to give the Jets a 7-3 edge less than five minutes into the second quarter. Sanchez kept the drive alive by escaping pressure on 3rd and 6 and finding Edwards for 37 yards.
The Jets took advantage of a critical Patriots’ miscue late in the first half to extend their lead.
On 4th and 4 from the Patriots 38, Patrick Chung dropped a direct snap on a fake punt attempt that gave the Jets great field position at the New England 37 with just over a minute to go before halftime. Tomlinson ripped off runs of 16 and 6 before Sanchez found Edwards on a quick slant for a 15-yard touchdown to give the Jets a 14-3 lead with 33 seconds left before intermission. Edwards spun away from Pro Bowler Devin McCourty and also took safety Brandon Meriweather into the endzone to give the Jets a double-digit lead.
1. Super Bowl XLIII – Pittsburgh 27, Arizona 23
Notes: Most important aspects of this game.
* Steelers’ record-breaking, sixth Super Bowl win.
* Cardinals’ first championship game appearance since 1947.
* Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner’s pass-completion percentages of 70 and 72 respectively.
* Linebacker James Harrison’s record-breaking, 100-yard interception return for a touchdown as time expired at the half.
* Larry Fitzgerald’s dramatic, 64-yard, catch-and-run touchdown to give the Cardinals their first lead of the game with only 2:37 left in the 4th quarter.
* Steelers’ eight-play, 78-yard drive, culminating in the most remarkable, game-winning, tightrope catch in Super Bowl history by Santonio Holmes.
2. Super Bowl XLII – New York Giants 17, New England 14
3. Super Bowl XXXVIII – New England 32, Carolina 29
4. Super Bowl XXXII – Denver 31, Green Bay 24
5. Super Bowl XIII – Pittsburgh 35, Dallas 31
6. Super Bowl XXIII – San Francisco 20, Cincinnati 16
7. Super Bowl XXXVI – New England 20, St. Louis 17
8. Super Bowl XXV – New York Giants 20, Buffalo 19
9. Super Bowl X – Pittsburgh 21, Dallas 17
10. Super Bowl XXXIV – St. Louis 23, Tennessee 16
A. Super Bowl III – New York Jets 16, Baltimore Colts 7
B. Superbowl XXX – Dallas Cowboys 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 17