Baltimore and Denver played the fourth longest game in NFL history. Peyton Manning threw a decisive interception near midfield, and Baltimore got into field goal range at the start of the second overtime. Rookie Justin Tucker nailed a huge kick in the bitter cold to send Baltimore on to the AFC Championship Game for the second year in a row.
Denver got two special teams touchdowns from Trindon Holliday, but it did not matter. The Denver secondary played horribly all day long, and the pass rush against Flacco was inconsistent. The Broncos surrendered three long touchdown passes, coming into the game having finished first in net yards allowed per pass on the season.
John Fox coached very conservatively. He has now been the coach for two of the six longest games in NFL history, both when he had a fourth quarter lead. He was on the wrong end of an interception this time, though. He coached like he had a rookie “game manager” quarterback and not Peyton Manning. Then, Manning rewarded that with throwing the late pick.
Baltimore absolutely went out to win this game and were the aggressor. To the aggressor go the spoils.
[photo via USA Today Sports Images]