Patriots replay: Breaking down the AFC title game
Rough day for Tom Brady
Tom Brady couldn’t get anything going in the passing game until the fourth quarter, when it was late.
Some of the Patriots’ struggles were on Brady,who didn’t always make the correct read — he threw incomplete to a covered Austin Collie on third down but did not see Michael Hoomanawanui streaking wide open down the seam.
Later in the ﬁrst quarter, Brady throws deep incomplete to little-used Matthew Slater on another third down, instead of finding Danny Amendola underneath for a potential first down.
But it wasn’t all Brady’s fault.His receivers rarely created any separation without the use of play-action passes.
Winning the chess match
Usually it’s Bill Belichick outsmarting Peyton Manning, but Manning got the better of him on Sunday.No play better exemplified that than the28-yard draw to Knowshon Moreno in the second quarter
Manning checked into a run after noticing that the Patriots left the middle of the ﬁeld wide open, and that the safeties’ ﬁrst steps after the snap were backward.
And it didn’t help that both Steve Gregory(28) and Duron Harmon (30) missed tackles.
Throw of the day
The arm strength might not always be there, but Manning can still squeeze the ball into tight windows.
Bad day on the line
Rarely do you seeLogan Mankins whiff this badly on a block, especially on a crucial fourth-down play.
Defending the Patriots
The Broncos were committed to stopping the run ﬁrst,and limited the Patriots to just 64 yards on 16 carries.
The Broncos often brought an extra defender into the box, even on obvious passing downs, and balanced it by playing a lot ofone-and two-deep safety.