But if you look at the end stats, the Ravens outgained the Broncos 471 yards to 398 yards and were slighly ahead both running and passing. In short, the Broncos could not afford to beat themselves and win the game.
There are two plays people will talk about for some time. The first is Joe Flacco’s 70-yard-rainbow bomb to the fleet Jacoby Jones. The second is Broncos’ QB Peyton Manning’s second interception: a textbook no-no pass across his body and short to Brandon Stokley, who tried to come back for it, only to be beaten to the ball by Ravens Cornerback Corey Graham.
Later, Manning himself admitted it was a bad throw: “Yeah, bad throw. Probably the decision wasn’t great, either. I thought I had an opening, and I didn’t get enough on it, and I was trying to make a play and certainly a throw I’d like to have back.”
What Peyton was trying to do was loop the ball over the head of Brandon, but because he didn’t set his feet, the ball came off low and behind him, and into the waiting arms of Graham, who Brandon had beaten.
Still, the Broncos Defense could have engineered a three-and-out, but that didn’t happen – the Ravens drove into position to kick the winning 47-yard field goal, and head to the NFC Championship Game.
I had the chance to watch parts of the game in Las Vegas and in San Francisco airports. Manning and The Broncos were the favorites hands down, without question. Peyton broke a lot of hearts of fans who wanted to see him come back from being banished from The Colts, and painted as washed up.
Even though he didn’t win, Manning’s not washed up. Moreover, if you have to lose a playoff game, why not after two overtimes and to a team led by the retiring Ray Lewis?
Lewis is off to the AFC Championship Game, and you know what? I would not best against him or his Ravens.