"It’s not really time to reflect," Manning said, after the Broncos' 20-18 win. "We have two weeks to play. We’re going to play a team that we are completely unfamiliar with. There’s going to be a lot of film to study, so I think, once again, just trying to stay in the moment. We’ll enjoy this victory tonight. This was a special victory; it was a heck of a game."
That early lead was something the Broncos knew they needed to accomplish to put New England on their heels, Manning said.
"New England does a great job of getting the lead, getting ahead of you and making you play catch-up and getting you out of your offense," Manning said. "It didn’t look good the first two plays. […] [Wide receiver] Emmanuel [Sanders] made a good play, and then we found a little rhythm, converted a couple third downs and [Broncos TE] Owen [Daniels] was awesome down there in the red zone."
Daniels, who caught two touchdowns, had caught the first pass on a seam route with an impeccable read by Manning, and later caught the second in the corner of the end zone to give the Broncos further separation.
"I know Owen wanted this game as much as anybody," Manning said. "I know his season ended last year [with Baltimore] in New England and for him to have two touchdowns in this game, I’m very happy for him. That ended up being the difference."
"We knew it would be a challenge running the ball," Manning said. "They have an excellent front. They have some stout guys out there. I feel like we had to stay committed to it just to try to create some balance and not become one-dimensional where we throw it every time. We played these guys last year and that’s what happened. […] And so, keeping some kind of balance, whether you’re productive or not, that was important."
The offense would get that breakthrough play early in the fourth quarter with the Broncos looking to keep the Patriots at arm's length. Anderson found a hole and scampered through it for a 30-yard gain. Though Denver couldn’t' find the end zone on that drive, they got the field goal that would prove to be the game-winner.
"There is no question this is a sweet day, this was a sweet victory," Manning said. "To me, this victory is a great example of what this entire season has been like. It hasn’t been easy.