The anatomy of Tom Brady vs. the Denver Broncos

The winningest quarterback in NFL history, Tom Brady, comes to Denver on Sunday night with another opportunity to exorcise his demons in the Mile High City. Long considered “Brady’s House of Horrors,” Sports Authority Field at Mile High has indeed given the sure-fire, first-ballot Hall of Famer fits over the years.

In his career, Brady is just 3-7 in Denver – regular season and postseason combined. Although he emerged victorious in his last trip to the Mile High City, beating the Trevor Siemian-led Broncos in 2016, 16-3, Brady will face a quarterback that previously out-dueled him in a “Sunday Night Football” matchup two years ago, Brock Osweiler. Brady can avenge that loss this Sunday night, as well as move his career regular-season win-loss record against Denver into the positive with a victory.

The Broncos are one of just five NFL teams against whom Brady has a .500 or worse regular season record: Arizona (1-1), Carolina (2-3), Denver (6-6), Green Bay (2-2) and Seattle (1-2). He can drop that number to four with a victory.

Surprisingly, Brady never battled his greatest rival, Peyton Manning, in Denver during the regular season. Each of their three regular-season meetings while Manning was with the Broncos occurred in Foxborough, while their only two meetings in the postseason during the Manning Broncos years happened in Denver.

New England has returned to their rightful place atop the AFC East at 6-2 after starting the season 2-2. Denver, meanwhile, has tumbled in the standings with a 3-5 record after dropping four straight games. The Broncos desperately need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, while New England seems to be just hitting their stride for the season.

Brady’s struggles in Denver give the Broncos reason for hope, although the makeup of this team appears far more like the ones Brady has found limited success against when playing in the Mile High City.

Brady vs. Broncos

Below is a full dissection of Brady’s performance against the Broncos through the years, accounting for his overall record, games in Foxborough vs. Denver, regular season vs. postseason games, the Manning Broncos vs. non-Manning Broncos and nearly every combination therein.

Career Overall: 7-9

Brady started his career 1-6 overall against the Broncos, but rebounded with a 5-1 run from 2011 to 2014. He’s 1-2 overall over the past two years, with his lone win coming last year against Trevor Siemian in Denver. He needs three consecutive wins against Denver to move above .500 overall for his career against the Broncos.

Regular Season Overall: 6-6

Last year’s win in Denver evened Brady’s regular-season record with Denver after he started 1-5 for his career against the Broncos. Momentum has been on his side ever since a 41-23 victory over Tim Tebow in 2011, with Brady flipping the script and going 5-1 over his last six regular-season games versus Denver.

Regular Season in Foxborough: 3-2

Brady is 104-19 at home during the regular season for his career, and 3-2 against the Broncos – meaning the Broncos represent 10.5 percent of his regular-season home losses. Surprisingly, none of them came with Manning at the helm (more on that below).

Regular Season in Denver: 3-4

Brady with a victory on Sunday night can pull even for his career on regular-season games played in Denver, although he’s never strung together back-to-back regular season wins in games played in the Mile High City. A win Sunday would be a first in that category.

Postseason Overall: 1-3

Brady has as many postseason wins against the Denver Broncos for his career as Tebow has postseason wins against the Pittsburgh Steelers for his. Of course, that only win to Brady’s credit came against Tebow that same year. Unless the Broncos can turn things around quickly, it doesn’t look like there will be much chance to change that stat in 2017.

Postseason in Foxborough: 1-0

As mentioned above, Brady’s lone postseason victory over the Broncos came against Tebow in New England after Denver upset Pittsburgh in the Wild Card round. Brady passed for 363 yards and six touchdowns in a 45-10 dismantling of Denver. Tebow was just 9-for-26 for 136 in his last game with the Broncos.

Postseason in Denver: 0-3

It began with Champ Bailey‘s 100-yard interception in 2005 and ended with Von Miller and Company knocking around Brady six ways from Sunday in 2015. Brady is still seeking that elusive playoff road win in Denver, one of the few missing pieces on his résumé.

Regular Season vs. Manning Broncos Overall: 3-0

The Brady-Manning rivalry was the best of its era, and it was decidedly lopsided in Brady’s favor – especially during the regular season. Brady was 11-6 for his career overall against Manning, with three of those wins coming in the regular season while Manning was with the Broncos.

Regular Season vs. Manning Broncos in Foxborough: 3-0

Of course, all three of Brady’s regular-season victories over Manning while Manning was with the Broncos came in Foxborough. Brady was the winner for three straight years, from 2012 through 2014 when Manning visited New England.

Regular Season vs. Manning Broncos in Denver: 0-0

Manning’s Broncos never hosted Brady’s Patriots during the regular season, which may be a good thing for Brady considering his lack of success against Manning in Denver in the postseason.

Postseason vs. Manning Broncos Overall: 0-2

Brady and Manning met in the postseason five times in their careers, with two of those meetings occurring during Manning’s time in Denver. Brady started 2-0 in the postseason against Manning but will end his career with an overall 2-3 record versus Manning in the postseason, with Manning gaining the lifetime edge thanks to the Broncos.

Postseason vs. Manning Broncos in Foxborough: 0-0

Brady never had the luxury of facing Manning’s Broncos at home in the playoffs. Manning and Denver’s dominance at home in 2013 and 2015 earned them a No. 1 overall seed and home-field advantage those years. Denver stubbed their toe at home against the Colts in the 2014 playoffs when they would have had to travel to New England – something players at the time suggested was in their head a bit against Indy.

Postseason vs. Manning Broncos in Denver: 0-2

Manning twice hosted Brady in the AFC Championship at Sports Authority Field, earning a 26-16 victory in the 2013 playoffs and letting Denver’s defense do the heavy lifting in a 20-18 win en route to their Super Bowl 50 victory in the 2015 season. The final Manning victory also ensured that Brady would always have a losing playoff record against his greatest rival.

Regular Season vs. Non-Manning Broncos Overall: 3-6

Brady has been surprisingly mediocre against non-Manning Broncos teams during the regular season. Broncos quarterbacks he’s lost to in the regular season not named Manning include Brian Griese (2), Jake Plummer (2), Kyle Orton and Osweiler. The Broncos quarterbacks he’s defeated in the regular season other than Manning are Danny Kanell, Tebow and Siemian.

Regular Season vs. Non-Manning Broncos in Foxborough: 0-2

Griese and Plummer were both 2-0 against Brady in their careers during the regular season, each picking up a home win and a road win versus New England. Griese’s road win came in 2002 when New England finished 9-7. Plummer’s win in New England came in 2006, when the Patriots would go all the way to the AFC Championship but lose to Manning.

Regular Season vs. Non-Manning Broncos in Denver: 3-4

Brady’s three regular season wins against the non-Manning Broncos all came in Denver. He beat Kanell in 2003, Tebow in 2011 and Siemian in 2016. He lost to Griese in 2001 (Brady’s first Super Bowl winning season), Plummer in 2005 (they would meet again that postseason), Orton in 2009 (yes, Kyle Orton) and Osweiler in 2015 (in overtime).

Postseason vs. Non-Manning Broncos Overall: 1-1

Unless the Broncos can right the ship very quickly this season, it’s unlikely that Brady will have a chance to move into a positive postseason win-loss situation against non-Manning Broncos teams. While New England appears headed to their 15th playoff appearance during the Brady era, the Broncos have a big hole to climb out of at 3-5 through nine weeks in 2017.

Postseason vs. Non-Manning Broncos in Foxborough: 1-0

As referenced earlier, the Broncos’ only postseason trip to Foxborough during the Tom Brady era ended with a lopsided loss and the end of the Tim Tebow era in Denver. Tebow was outscored 86-33 in their two meetings during the 2011 season, with a 45-10 loss in the Divisional round serving as the ending to Denver’s miracle run that year.

Postseason vs. Non-Manning Broncos in Denver: 0-1

Although Brady had struggled during the regular season in the Mile High City up to that point in his career, Champ Bailey’s 100-yard interception return in the 2005 Divisional round officially signaled the beginning of Denver’s reputation as Brady’s “House of Horrors.” Bailey and the Jake Plummer-led Broncos rolled to a 27-13 win, punctuated by one of the most-memorable plays in Broncos history.

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