Bill Belichick and the Patriots had no answers Sunday for Peyton Manning and the Broncos, as for the second straight season, New England lost the AFC Title Game, this time 26-16.
Manning was 32-for-43 for 400 yards and a pair of touchdowns, as the Broncos never trailed in the game and led 20-3 entering the fourth quarter.
Denver’s defense held the Patriots offense in check most of the afternoon, as while the Pats scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, they never seemed to get things going on offense to get the game close.
Tom Brady was held to 24-for-38 passing for 277 yards and a touchdown.
The Patriots run game, which beat up the Colts a week ago, was held to just 64 yards on 16 carries. LeGarrette Blount was held to just six yards on five carries for New England.
The Broncos were able to keep the ball for extended amounts of time — putting together their two longest drives of the season against the Pats.
Bottom line, the Pats were outplayed from start to finish. Many are giving the Pats credit for even making it to the Conference title game, but in the end, it wasn’t enough.