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The Golden Road: 50 moments that got the Broncos to Super Bowl 50, 26-50


We're counting down the 50 moments that led the Broncos to Super Bowl 50. If you missed the first 25, you can catch up on them here in part one.*

Week 11 at Chicago

26. Von Miller's strip-sack of Jay Cutler

Time: 2:30 remaining, fourth quarter
Why it mattered: Chicago had been stopped in goal-to-go on its previous drive, but rebounded by marching into Denver territory once again. But Miller, who had been held throughout the contest, snuffed out the drive by forcing a fumble that Malik Jackson recovered. However, it wouldn't be enough...

27. Stuffing the two-point conversion

Time: 0:24 remaining, fourth quarter
Why it mattered: In a moment that would be echoed two months later, T.J. Ward and the defense stuffed Jeremy Langford to preserve a 17-15 lead. Demaryius Thomas recovered the subsequent on-side kickoff, and the Broncos had the win over the pesky, resilient Bears.

Week 12 vs. New England

28. Ronnie Hillman gallops around right end for a 19-yard touchdown

Time: 2:07 remaining, second quarter
Why it mattered: The Broncos' offense was listless before this scoring drive, which sliced New England's 14-0 lead in half just before halftime. Hillman and C.J. Anderson combined for 44 yards on seven carries on this drive, which saw the Broncos consume 5:41 and regain their footing.

29. Chris Harper muffs the catch; Barrett recovers

Time: 14:15 remaining, fourth quarter
Why it mattered: The takeaway seemed to rouse the Broncos, and they cut the Patriots' lead to seven points just four plays later on Anderson's 15-yard run.

30. Rob Gronkowski called for offensive pass interference

Time: 5:22 remaining, fourth quarter
Why it mattered: New England had the chance to drain some clock and preserve a four-point lead, but all that evaporated when Gronkowski's interference call wiped out a 10-yard gain on third-and-5. Brady's subsequent pass to Brandon LaFell fell incomplete, and the Broncos had a crucial stop -- although the offense would not capitalize until after another defensive stop with 2:31 remaining.

31. Brock Osweiler hits Demaryius Thomas for 36 yards

Time: 2:24 remaining, fourth quarter
Why it mattered: Not only did it kick-start a touchdown sprint that put the Broncos in front, it also gave Thomas something to which he could cling after a night plagued by dropped passes.


A frame-by-frame look at Von Miller's overtime sack on Tom Brady in a three-and-out. (First set by Gabriel Christus, second by Eric Bakke, third by Ben Hays)

  1. Miller sacks Brady for a 7-yard loss**

Time: 14:57 remaining, overtime
Why it mattered: In the short run, it forced the Patriots into third-and-17, which led to a three-and-out. But this was also a preview of the duress under which Brady would operate in the AFC Championship Game.


  1. C.J. Anderson's 48-yard touchdown run**

Time: 12:32 remaining, overtime
Why it mattered: Anderson's well-blocked gallop up the left sideline gave the Broncos their second 14-point comeback win of the year and ended up providing part of the three-way tiebreaker that went the Broncos' way and allowed them to host the AFC Championship.

Week 13 at San Diego


  1. Malik Jackson sets up Danny Trevathan's pick-six**

Time: 0:04 remaining, first quarter
Why it mattered: Jackson's rush on Philip Rivers forced an errant throw that Trevathan picked off to give the Broncos a 14-0 lead. The Chargers never really threatened after that, with Denver's elite defense doing just enough to minimize San Diego's damage.

35. Britton Colquitt drops a 47-yard punt down at the San Diego 1

Time: 9:01 remaining, fourth quarter
Why it mattered: Any realistic chance of a San Diego comeback effectively died with the well-placed, perfectly-downed punt that was a harbinger of similar kicks in both AFC playoff games.

Week 16 vs. Cincinnati

36. Mike Nugent misses wide right from 45 yards

Time: 2:26 remaining, second quarter
Why it mattered: Had Nugent made the field goal, the Bengals would have gone up 17-0, and that edge might have been insurmountable. Instead, the Broncos trimmed the lead to 14-3 at halftime and 14-10 early in the second half to get back in the game and set up their late-game heroics.

37. Osweiler finds Jordan Norwood for 6 yards on third-and-3

Time: 14:08 remaining, third quarter
Why it mattered: A three-and-out to open the second half might have crushed Denver's hopes. Instead, the Broncos marched 80 yards to a touchdown that allowed them to sustain momentum from their late first-half up-tempo work.


  1. Anderson scampers 39 yards for a touchdown**

Time: 11:17 remaining, fourth quarter
Why it mattered: Anderson's vision, balance and acceleration were on display here as he continued his strong December. Only a fumble later in the fourth quarter sullied his performance.

39. Vance Walker sacks AJ McCarron

Time: 2:22 remaining, fourth quarter
Why it mattered: With home-field advantage on the line, the Bengals could not generate a late-in-overtime march. Walker's sack forced the Bengals to settle for a punt with 4:05 remaining.


  1. Brandon McManus drills a 47-yard field goal**

Time: 10:00 remaining, overtime
Why it mattered: Just five minutes earlier, McManus had shanked a game-winning attempt at the end of regulation so badly that the football missed the net behind the uprights. McManus wasn't shaken, and made his next kick.

Week 17 vs. San Diego


  1. Peyton Manning enters the game**

Time: 8:18 remaining, third quarter
Why it mattered: It meant everything to the Broncos in setting up their postseason run to see Manning trot back onto the field after missing six games because of a torn plantar fascia. The crowd roared; he didn't just bring a spark to the team, but the home fans, as well. The Broncos have just one turnover since he returned to the lineup, and it's not a coincidence.


  1. Shiloh Keo intercepts Philip Rivers**

Time: 4:50 remaining, fourth quarter
Why it mattered: With the game tied, Keo picked off Rivers, setting up the offense on a short field from which it scored the game-winning touchdown.

AFC Divisional Playoff vs. Pittsburgh


  1. McManus drills a 51-yard field goal through the wind**

Time: 0:00 remaining, second quarter
Why it mattered: McManus' five field goals kept the Broncos alive until their offense could finish the job, but it was his 51-yarder that knuckled through a 25-miles-per-hour crosswind that was the most impressive, the most unlikely ... and the most vital, drawing the Broncos within 10-9 at halftime.


  1. Bradley Roby strips Fitzgerald Toussaint of the football**

Time: 9:52 remaining, fourth quarter
Why it mattered: It halted the Steelers' advance to a potential touchdown that would have put them up by eight points, and served as the game-changing jolt that Denver's top-ranked defense has provided time and again throughout the season.


  1. Manning hits Bennie Fowler for a 31-yard gain**

Time: 8:33 remaining, fourth quarter
Why it mattered: With the offense flagging and looking to capitalize off Roby's forced fumble, it took Manning finding Fowler, who shed a blocker and took off, to rouse the offense from its sleepwalking state. After Fowler's run, the Broncos went to the ground to pound away at Pittsburgh and drive to the game-winning touchdown.

AFC Championship vs. New England


  1. Manning hits Daniels for a 21-yard touchdown**

Time: 7:32 remaining, first quarter
Why it mattered: New England had opted to take the football after winning the coin toss, and that rankled the Broncos' defense, some members of which took that decision as an insult. The defense came up big, and when the offense got its shot, it seized control of the game, exploiting a coverage mismatch of Jamie Collins on Daniels for two touchdowns, the first of which put Denver in front for good.

47. Stephen Gostkowski misses the extra point

Time: 1:49 remaining, first quarter
Why it mattered: It changed the entire tenor of the second half, leaving the Patriots chasing points, which forced them to go for it twice on fourth down -- and eventually forced them to go for two after a last-minute touchdown pass to Gronkowski. The NFL's decision to move extra points back 13 yards dropped the success rate to 94 percent -- which was the success rate two decades ago for the shorter PAT -- and created some doubt on the play for the first time in a decade.


  1. Miller intercepts Brady in the right flat**

Time: 14:35 remaining, second quarter
Why it mattered: It showed that at this point in the game, Brady was starting to see ghosts. The Broncos rushed three men and dropped Miller into short-area coverage, and Brady never saw Miller fading back. The theft set up Daniels' second touchdown of the game three snaps later.


  1. Talib deflects Brady's two-point conversion pass**

Time: 0:12 remaining, fourth quarter
Why it mattered: It wasn't much; it just saved the Broncos' 20-18 win. With the safety corps battered by injuries, the Patriots drove to their first touchdown since the first quarter, riding TE Rob Gronkowski all the way. But Brady didn't look for Gronkowski on the two-point conversion; instead he threw under a four-man rush for Edelman, but Talib tipped the ball, which was intercepted by Bradley Roby. Though Roby would fumble on his return attempt, the conversion attempt still ended unsuccessfully when the ball was downed on the fumble recovery.

50. Keo fields the on-side kickoff

Time: 0:11 remaining, fourth quarter
Why it mattered: It sealed the Broncos' eighth AFC championship. If the Patriots had recovered, they would have been one short Tom Brady pass from being in range of a game-winning Gostkowski field goal.

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