Peyton Manning finally slew the dragon that has haunted his entire career, winning what was arguably the biggest game of his life, college or pro, as his Indianpolis Colts defeated their nemesis, the New England Patriots, 38-34 in the AFC Championship Game. Peyton could never beat Tennessee’s arch-rival Florida in college and Belichick and Brady had gotten the best of Manning and the Colts in two playoff games. On Sunday, however, Peyton delivered by driving his team to the winning touchdown with under a minute to play. For the game, Manning was 27 of 47 for 349 yards and one touchdown. He also threw an interception that Asante Samuel returned for a touchdown to put the Pats up 21-3. However, instead of folding like they might have done in previous years, the Colts responded by scoring 32 points in the second half to put themselves in the Superbowl against the Chicago Bears.
The Colts are early 7-point favorites.
Drew Brees was 20 of 32 for 243 yards and a touchdown as the New Orleans Saints defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 27-24 in the Divisional Playoffs. The Saints move on to face the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game.
Brian Westbrook carried 20 times for 141 yards as the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New York Giants 23-20 in the Wildcard Playoff game. Westbrook’s 49 yard touchdown run to tie the score early in the second quarter was one of the most exciting runs of the year. As usual, Westbrook was overlooked for the Pro Bowl and remains one of the most underrated backs in the league. The Eagles move on to face the New Orleans Saints in the Divisional Playoff round.
Jared Zabransky helped lead the Boise State Broncos to a stunning upset over the Oklahoma Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl on the night of January 1st, 2007. Perhaps the most memorable moment was his deft ball handling on the two-point conversion attempt in overtime. Zabransky faked a pass on the Statue Of Liberty play and handed off to running back Ian Johnson going left for the winning points. Boise State defeated Oklahoma 43-42 in a game that will probably do more to further the cause of creating an NCAA Division I playoff than anything else that has happened in the last ten years.
Tiki finished his (supposedly) last regular season game in memorable fashion, carrying 23 times for 234 yards and scoring 3 touchdowns. Thanks to his efforts, the Giants will be heading off to Philadelphia for a Wildcard Playoff Game next week.