On Now
Coming Up
  • Wed., Sep. 03, 2014 5:00 PM MDT Gatorade Junior Training Camp Play 60 Fall Kickoff Kickoff event for Play 60 with local Boys and Girls Clubs
  • Thu., Sep. 04, 2014 5:00 PM MDT Gatorade Junior Training Camp Play 60 Fall Kickoff Kickoff event for Play 60 with local Boys and Girls Clubs
  • Sun., Sep. 07, 2014 6:30 PM MDT Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts

    The Denver Broncos open up the 2014 season when they host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football on NBC.

  • Sun., Sep. 14, 2014 2:25 PM MDT Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs The Denver Broncos host the Kansas City Chiefs in the first AFC West matchup of the 2014 season. The game will be broadcast on CBS.
  • Tue., Sep. 16, 2014 12:00 PM MDT Fuel Up to Play 60 For the Love of Play Assembly Fuel Up to Play 60 For the Love of Play Assembly.
  • Sun., Sep. 21, 2014 2:25 PM MDT Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks The Denver Broncos face the Seattle Seahawks in the team's first road game of the 2014 season. The game will be televised on CBS.
  • Sun., Oct. 05, 2014 2:05 PM MDT Denver Broncos Pink Game The Denver Broncos annual Salute to Survivors halftime recognition, celebrating breast cancer survivors at the team's game against the Arizona Cardinals.
  • Sun., Oct. 05, 2014 2:05 PM MDT Broncos vs. Cardinals The Broncos face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Oct. 5 at 2:05 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast on FOX.
  • Tue., Oct. 07, 2014 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM MDT Drive for Life XVII

    Bonfils Blood Center and the Denver Broncos work together on an annual Drive for Life event which is the largest single day blood drive in Colorado.

    Tuesday, October 7, 2014
    Sports Authority Field at Mile High
    Click here for more information about the 2014 DFL event.

    Learn more from Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway and 9News' Cheryl Preheim about 2014 Drive for Life.

  • Sun., Oct. 12, 2014 11:00 AM MDT Denver Broncos at New York Jets The Denver Broncos travel to Met Life Stadium to take on the New York Jets on Oct. 12, 2014 at 11 a.m. MT. The game will be broadcast on CBS.

News & Blogs

Print
RSS

Five to Watch: 4. Tom Brady

Posted Jan 17, 2014

Independent analyst Andrew Mason continues his look at five key players in Sunday's AFC Championship Game with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This week, independent analyst Andrew Mason will take a closer look at five players to watch in this Sunday's AFC Championship Game. Fourth on the list: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The mention of the name "Tom Brady" doesn't require any adjectives. The same thing can be said for Peyton Manning, which helps make Sunday's game arguably the most anticipated conference championship in recent NFL history.

And frankly, what can be noted about Brady that has not been written before?

But even though "Manning vs. Brady" is the marquee matchup, it's an inaccurate assessment of what looms Sunday. Unless one or the other stuns their teams, onlookers and the entire football-watching nation by lining up on defense, Manning will not face Brady, or vice versa.

Brady will face a Denver defense that had allowed just 27 points in 11 quarters until leaking 17 points in the fourth quarter last Sunday. In Weeks 1-15, the defense allowed 24.6 points per 60 minutes; from Weeks 16-17 and through the first three quarters last Sunday, that average dropped to 9.8 points per 60 minutes.

Much of that is due to the Broncos' success at disguising their pass rushes, to supplement an injury-transformed front four with blitzes. But Brady is one of the finest quarterbacks in league history at identifying pressure before it arrives, and is rarely rattled.

Brady has thrown for less than 200 yards in three consecutive games, but the Patriots won them all. They didn't need big numbers from Brady, not when their ground game was at its most effective in years.

So key could rest in takeaways. That sounds like a plan, but takeaways are difficult to procure from the unflappable quarterback. Nevertheless, the Patriots have lost all four times the last two seasons when Brady had a negative interception-to-touchdown margin, including in last year's AFC Championship defeat to Baltimore.

All four of those occasions, Brady had a margin barely in the negative: minus-1 each time. But the 0-4 mark in those games offers a stark contrast to the 26-5 record in all other games in that span.

Thus, the Broncos could take some chances in pressure and coverage. Those tactics might lead to some completions and long gains, but an interception or two is the best -- and perhaps only -- way to knock Brady a bit off-kilter, and force the mistakes that he's not going to make on his own.

"That’s obviously our game plan. We want to hit him as much as possible and see if we can get to him," said Broncos defensive end Shaun Phillips. "A guy like that doesn’t get rattled too much, but if we can keep the ball out of his hand and keep pressure on him, I think it’s in our benefit."

Facebook Comments

Let us know your thoughts. Comment below through Facebook, AOL, Hotmail or Yahoo accounts.