It didn't matter how many times Peyton Manning yelled "Omaha" today, whatever it meant. The Denver offense worked the hell out of the Patriots in a 26-16 win, and Manning will have his third chance at a Super Bowl ring.
Manning was so precise on his throws the entire game, having plenty of time with little pressure by New England's pass rush. The Patriots didn't sack Manning; they didn't even hit him after a throw once. And when cornerback Aqib Talib went out for a knee injury, Manning found ideal matchups with lots of time in the pocket. Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker. As it's been all season long, he had so many receiving options. He finished with 400 yards and two touchdowns, completing 16 out of 17 passes at one point.
Not only did the Broncos offense end drives with scores, but they bled the clock as they produced points. Denver's time of possession was 35:44, and its first drive after halftime was a trudging, 13-play march ending with a Demaryius Thomas touchdown, 7:08 later. The Patriots didn't get their second offensive possession of the second half until 12:02 in the fourth quarter.
And when New England's offense had the ball, it just faltered. (It played catchup in the final quarter, hoping for one more comeback, but it was far too late.) LeGarrette Blount wasn't a factor with only six rushing yards, but the Patriots weren't going to beat the Broncos by running the ball. Tom Brady didn't have any turnovers—neither team did—but he had a few overthrown deep balls that could have kept the offense on the field. The Patriots' defense admirably held up in the red zone, and keeping the best NFL offense ever to 26 points is no easy task, but the struggling first-half New England offense, which had just six first downs in the first half, opened up a two-possession lead that Denver clenched through the end of the game.