1. January 14, 2006: Broncos hand Brady, Bill Belichick first postseason defeat
Neither of the AFC Championship games gains the No.1 spot on this list? That is because for me, this was one of the best wins in the history of the Broncos for other reasons, mainly sticking it to Brady and the hated Pats.
The 2005 Broncos were severely underrated and though they were the home team in this game, a Patriots win was expected by most. That is because nobody beat Brady and Bill Belichick in the playoffs.
Until this game.
Together, Brady and Belichick were 10-0 in the postseason coming into this game. They had already won three Super Bowls and they were the defending back-to-back champions. The Patriots were on a quest to become the first team in NFL history to win three Super Bowls in a row.
The Broncos were the team that spoiled that.
Brady threw for 341 yards in this game and the Broncos seemed to be managing their way to victory quite well, yet if you watched, you sensed a comeback coming from Brady. And the momentum started to shift.
The game changed on the most memorable play in the career of Champ Bailey. With the Broncos leading 10-6 in the third quarter, the Patriots had a 3rd-and-goal from the 5-yard line. Brady dropped back to pass and tried to sail a ball to the right side of the end zone. But it was picked off by Bailey.
Take a look (video) at what ensued.
It ended up being a 100-yard interception return that was not a touchdown. Bailey was pushed out of bounds at the 1-yard line. On the very next play, Mike Anderson plunged into the end zone to give the Broncos a 17-6 lead that they never relinquished.
Though the Broncos would go on to lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game the following week, this was a huge win against Brady and the Patriots when they were at the height of their team success.