Denver defeats Patriots 26-16; Advance to Super Bowl XLVIII
Late in the third quarter, down 20-3 to the Denver Broncos, the New England Patriots had a decision to make-- go for it on a fourth and two at the Denver 30 or kick a 47-yard field goal down.
The Patriots rolled the dice and came up empty as Denver sent a well-timed blitz and sacked Tom Brady.
Whether New England wants to admit it or not, the game had been long decided before that moment. Peyton Manning and the Denver offense carved through the Patriots defense which lead to a 26-16 Broncos victory.
Manning outshined rival quarterback Tom Brady throwing for 400 yards and two touchdowns. Manning played a well-crafted game, completing an AFC championship game record tying 32 passes.
“It's very rewarding when you put a lot of hard work into the offseason and the regular season,” Manning said. “It pays dividends with a huge win.”
Meanwhile, New England was held in check for most of the game. It took the Patriots over 50 minutes to find the end zone by the time they scored it was already too late.
New England was able to score 13 points in the final ten minutes but fell short when they were unable to punch in a two-point conversion to make it a one possession game.
With the win, Denver will make their first super bowl appearance since 1998. For Manning, it will be his third appearance in the super bowl, his first with the Broncos.
“We kept our nose to the grindstone, kept persevering,” Manning said. “It’s gratifying to get this win today.”
Denver will matchup against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII at Metlife Stadium on February 2, 2014.
Late turnovers sink 49ers; Seahawks advance to Super Bowl XLVII with 23-17 win
49ers quarterback Collin Kaepernick launched a pass in to the end zone intended for Michael Crabtree, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman tipped the pass and it landed in the hands of linebacker Malcolm Smith.
The interception sealed a 23-17 victory for Seattle and a trip to the super bowl.
“I’m the best corner in the game,” exclaimed Sherman in a post-game interview with FOX’s Erin Andrews. In another interview, Sherman said that he “knew it would come down to (the defense) in the back end to win this thing.”
The game was a classic heavyweight fight, each team delivering and taking shots. The 49ers were first to strike with a strip-fumble on the first play of the game.
Kaepernick was key to the 49ers offense, he lead the 49ers with 130 rushing yards. But the Seahawks were able to take advantage of Kaepernick’s mistakes, he turned the ball over three times in the second half.
For the Seattle offense, momentum swung their way when Marshawn Lynch scored on a 40 yard run. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson managed the game with 215 yards passing and one touchdown.
The NFC championship game was defined by the defensive play by both teams. The 49ers made two fourth down stops and forced a turnover. But it was the Seattle that landed the last punch with three forced turnovers in the second half.
“This is as sweet as it gets,” Sherman said.
“This is really special,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll added, “It would really be a mistake to not remember the connection and the relationship between this football team and the 12th Man and these fans. It's unbelievable."
Seattle will meet the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII at Metlife Stadium on February 2, 2014.