Monday Morning Quarterback: The Good, The Bad From Championship Weekend
Denver BroncosNew England Patriots
The pressure was squarely on Peyton Manning’s shoulders, and the whole world was waiting to see how he would react to it in the AFC Championship game against his twin tormentors Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Manning was more than up to it, as he led the Broncos to a decisive victory and helped them earn a spot in Super Bowl XLVIII. Manning completed 32-of-43 passes for 400 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Manning dictated the pace of the game and never let the Patriots threaten his control of the outcome.
Brady was really up against it in this game, as he simply did not have the weapons to compete on even terms with Manning. Still, he led the Patriots to two fourth-quarter touchdowns and they could have made an even better run if they had been successful on a two-point conversion attempt. Brady competed 24-of-38 passes for 277 yards with one touchdown and he did not throw an interception. However, he missed a couple of key throws in the first half that might have allowed the Patriots to make a better showing.
Seattle SeahawksSan Francisco 49ers
Russell Wilson was in trouble in this game. His Seahawks trailed 10-3 at halftime and there was no indication that the Seahawks were about to get their offense in gear in the second half. However, he made the play of the game when he threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse on a fourth-down play early in the fourth quarter that gave the Seahawks a lead they would not relinquish. Wilson completed 16-of-25 passes for 215 yards and he did not throw an interception.
Colin Kaepernick had the 49ers on the verge of going back to their second straight Super Bowl, but his late pass to Michael Crabtree in the endzone was deflected by Richard Sherman and intercepted by Malcolm Smith. That ended San Francisco’s chances of getting a chance to play in Super Bowl XLVIII. Kaepernick was under pressure throughout the game and he struggled passing the ball. He completed 14-of-24 passes for 153 yards with one TD, two interceptions and a fumble. He ran for 130 yards and tormented the Seahawks with a 58-yard run in the first half.