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2013 SoB Game of the Year: Patriots vs Broncos 11/24

Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos and quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots shake hands after the New England Patriots defeated the Denver Broncos 34-31 in overtime at Gillette Stadium on November 24, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

This was the toughest decision of the Awards, between the Pats/Broncos, Bruins/Leafs and Red Sox championship clinchers among other choices that couldn’t all be included in the nomination phase. In the end, the Patriots showed the biggest grit and determination in a situation that was perhaps closer to impossible than any other game. Turning the ball over on their first three possessions and down 24-0 at halftime, the Pats didn’t look good. They also punted twice, turned the ball over on downs, and got off a singular desperation pass before halftime. Many were trying to beat the traffic or find something decent on TV to escape the pain. Boy were they sorry.

In the second half, four touchdowns to start, followed a field goal propelled New England to an improbable lead, before one last touchdown by Denver with just over three minutes left forced overtime. And that’s where the fun really began.

New England won the overtime coin toss, but instead of taking the ball like you would 99 times per 100, New England chose to kick off to start overtime in order to have the luxury of playing with a strong wind. After a chess match of punts, it looked like the game would end in a draw, but Tony Carter fumbled an attempted catch when receiving a punt deep in his own end. After positioning the ball for Stephen Gostkowski, New England kicked the game winner to complete the improbable win.

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