There’s a lot of emotion swirling inside any Broncos fan right now. A loss like this one feels raw, exhausting, and most of all, personal.
After all, we’ve been with this team for 19 games now. We’ve watched them set records, only to fall well short in the biggest game of the year.
But let’s face it, today was never meant to be the Broncos’ day. We need to accept that fact. The first play of the game was a self-induced safety. The first play of the second half was something I can only describe as completely bizarre.
But even without such alien abductions, the Seahawks were the better team.
In a game that called to mind the franchise's first four trips to the big game, the Broncos' record-shattering offense opened with a safety, gave the ball away another four times, and mustered up just one late and meaningless touchdown.
The game also bore a resemblance to the 40-10 result of the teams' preseason meeting, when the Seahawks used turnovers and big plays to romp.
Inactives: Broncos - Quentin Jammer, Ronnie Hillman, Vinston Painter, Chris Kuper, Joel Dreessen, Zac Dysert, Sione Fua
Seahawks - WR Bryan Walters, RB Christine Michael, T Michael Bowie, T Caylin Hauptmann, TE Kellen Davis, DE Benson Mayowa, DT Jordan Hill
Happy Super Bowl Sunday, friends. I was going to kick it old-school, and do a Digesting the Seahawks article, but others have pretty much covered that ground by now.
Instead, I’m going to just get a little scattershot with it, and fire off some quick Super Bowl thoughts.
Follow me across the jump, and we’ll get it going.
The smile on Champ Bailey’s face said it all.
A grin as wide as his Hall of Fame career has been long.
And now, thanks to a little Peyton Manning pixie dust (via the legend John Elway), Bailey is going to play in his first Super Bowl and biggest game of his career.
Elway, for his part, did say he was going to restore greatness to the Broncos.
They will face the Seattle Seahawks, who defeated the San Francisco 49ers 23-17 in the NFC title game, and like Denver, were picked throughout the year to make it to the Meadowlands.
It's the Broncos' seventh conference championship, and their first in fifteen years.
Inactives: Broncos - Joel Dreessen, Ronnie Hillman, Marquice Cole, Vinston Painter, Chris Kuper, Sione Fua, Zac Dysert
Patriots - Kenbrell Thompkins, Steve Beauharnais, Isaac Sopoaga, Justin Green, Chris Barker, D.J. Williams, Jake Bequette
While the 24-17 final score won't indicate it, this win was as good as a blowout.
The Chargers couldn't score until the fourth quarter; when they did, it took some pretty fluky stuff to get them into the game. Some garbage zone, blown coverages, and an onside kick later, the game narrowed.
But let's face it, the Chargers came into the game wanting to attack the edges on first and second down. The signing of Jeremy Mincey, which may turn out to be one of the best signings of the year, made this team stronger outside the tackles. And while you may not believe it, Nate Irving and Shaun Phillips both set the edge as well as Von Miller could have.
All week long, the focus was on San Diego’s running game and propensity to dominate time of possession.
The Chargers had held the ball for 38:03 of the teams’ first meeting in Week 10, and for 38:49 in the rematch five weeks later.
The Broncos will host the Patriots next Sunday at 3pm ET in the AFC Championship, with the winner advancing to Super Bowl 48 in New Jersey against either Seattle or San Francisco.
Inactives: Broncos - Derek Wolfe, Tony Carter, Joel Dreessen, Zac Dysert, Sione Fua, Ronnie Hillman, Chris Kuper
Chargers - Jeromey Clary, Marcus Cromartie, Lavelle Hawkins, Sean Lissemore, Brad Sorenson, Brandon Taylor, Kenny Wiggins