Leading up to Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, Denver Broncos safety T.J. Ward and his teammates felt disrespected by critics who favored the New England Patriots to win, reports NFL.com’s Kevin Patra.
“I don’t think I heard one telecast that had us winning, and as good as defense we’ve been playing all year that was the focal point—that Tom Brady was going to shred us apart. We took total disrespect to that. Total disrespect,” Ward said.
Ward went on to describe how the Broncos’ defense kept Brady under control to secure the 20–18 victory and a trip to the Super Bowl.
“Besides the big plays at the end of the game, I think he had about 150 yards passing, got sacked five times, threw a pick and we dogged him. We dominated him,” Ward said. “They’re a great team, but we just don’t like being disrespected. Nobody likes being disrespected. That's how we felt. We felt disrespected by the entire sports broadcast, everybody. We played like that today.“
Brady was actually sacked four times with 23 total hits and two interceptions in his 310-yard effort. Still, he described facing the Broncos’ No. 1 defense as an “uphill battle all day.”
The Broncos are set to take on the Carolina Panthers on Feb. 7 and, according to Ward, the team is fine with not being the favorite to win yet again.
“Go ahead. We feed off of that,” Ward said. “Keep us as the underdog [against] whoever wins [the NFC Championship]. Tell us how bad we are and how we can't cover and stop ‘this person,’ and I bet we win the Super Bowl.”
- Xandria James