clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Peyton Manning, Broncos advance to Super Bowl 50 with win over Patriots

Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos have advanced to Super Bowl 50 after beating the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

A month ago, Peyton Manning was the washed-up 39-year old quarterback, in the midst of HGH allegations and benched by his head coach in favor of a young, relatively unproven player.  In two weeks, Manning will be the starting quarterback in the Super Bowl.  Today, Manning and the Denver Broncos advanced to Super Bowl 50 with a 20-18 victory over the New England Patriots.

The real story of the day, however, was the Broncos' defense.  They made life miserable for Tom Brady and had him under pressure and looking confused all game, and they came up with several big stops - including on the crucial two-point conversion try that sealed the game for Denver.  Brady had a forgettable day, but that was in large part due to the Broncos' suffocating defense.  Of course, had it been Manning in that situation, no one would have cared about the defense but only about Manning choking in the playoffs.  Just something to consider, but, you know, it probably doesn't fit the narrative.

Peyton Manning wasn't anything special today either, completing just 17 of 32 passes for 176 yards, but he added two touchdown passes and didn't throw an interception (and adding an 11-yard rush, too!).  Manning made some really nice throws and missed some bad throws as well, but he was good enough and was the better quarterback on the field today.

We all know that Manning is on his last leg and will likely (hopefully) retire following this season, and it would be awesome to see him go out with a Super Bowl victory.  Regardless of whether or not that happens, though, Maning will start his fourth Super Bowl before he hangs it up.  The numbers are impressive.  Manning is now 4-1 in AFC Championship games (with three of those wins coming against Brady) and is 3-2 in the postseason against the Patriots (New England hasn't beaten a Manning-quarterbacked team in the playoffs in over a decade).  Manning will be playing in his fourth Super Bowl, and stunningly all four will have been under different head coaches - and two of those coaches (Jim Caldwell and Gary Kubiak) will have been in their first year with the team.

In two weeks, we'll get one last shot to see number 18 on the biggest stage, and I'll be honest: I couldn't be happier for him.  It'd be great to see him face his former coaches in Bruce Arians and Tom Moore if the Cardinals win, but either way - Peyton Manning and the Broncos are headed to the Super Bowl.