The Denver Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-16 on Sunday, punching their ticket to the AFC Championship game for the second time in three years. But if Denver is to clinch a spot in the Super Bowl, Peyton Manning and the Broncos will have to get through Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
As has become so typical this season, the Broncos’ offense looked anemic in the win. Peyton’s arm strength was shaky, the running game struggled, and Denver’s receivers dropped multiple passes.
Despite the poor showing by the offense though, the win was most special for receiver Demaryius Thomas. The former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket had a modest 4 catches for 40 yards, but the game carried extra significance because of who was in the stands. Demaryius’ mother, Katina Smith, got to see her son play football in person for the first time ever.
Smith was arrested for narcotics trafficking when Demaryius was 11 years old, and was freed from prison this November. However, she was forced to remain in Georgia for the next 60 days, preventing her from traveling to see Demaryius and the Broncos play. She finally got the opportunity on Sunday, and was rewarded with the game ball afterward. But if Katina is to see Demaryius in his second-ever Super Bowl this February, he and the rest of the Broncos will need to play much better than their most recent showing.
If they prove unable to do so, the ever-growing gap between Peyton Manning’s and Tom Brady’s greatness will continue to expand.
Source: Rolling Stone