I expected a eulogy when Tom Brady and Peyton Manning went head-to-head for the seventeenth time. I thought that a quarterback who threw ducks with no arm strength would be helpless against a Belichick led defense. Heck, I even joked with friends that after a few turnovers and a pick six or two that Manning would be pulled. But clearly I was wrong, I foolishly overlooked the Broncos defense.
The Broncos had put out an APB put for Von Miller whose game had been missing and unaccounted for. The Broncos trainers and medical staff were on the ready to carry the often injured Demarcus Ware off the field. But after 0 sack 5 tackle performance these talented edge rushers led the charge and took over the game. After a week of #BradyvsManning headlines, the Broncos defense stole the show. The secondary stuck to Patriots receivers like white on rice. In addition, to the Karate Kid and Mr. Miyaga, Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson had more hits on Brady than the Jacksons,Beatles and Gisele combined (23).
At the close of the AFC Championship we were reminded that defense still wins championships. History has shown us that teams with high powered offense and no defense do not win Super Bowls. (Minus the Rams). When Manning won his first and only Lombardi trophy in 2006, it was the defense and not his performance which led the charge.In Manning’s three loses the offense was record breaking and his defense was an afterthought Ten years later the same formula of more defense and less Manning will be needed for the Broncos to win its third Super Bowl.
Manning does not have to be the Manning of old to win Super Bowl 50. Manning does not have to throw for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns. In fact if Manning tries to be the Manning of old, the game will be over before the half. All Manning has to do is be like two Super Bowl winning quarterbacks who aren’t even in their own teams ring of honor Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer. These two savy NFL journeymen won because they were mature enough to know their limitations and wisely followed the lead of their record breaking defenses.
Thus far this postseason Manning has 0 int and only 2 touchdowns and although its not pretty, the Broncos are now only one win away. If the ducks and errand passes don’t result in turnovers the Broncos will win because no Manning is no problem. Will he continue to play the right way or will the turnover machine return? Will Demaryius Thomas catch the DAMN ball? Either way I am a now a believer, in Broncos defense I trust. Stay tuned…I know I will.