The Denver Broncos have hosted and beaten Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game two of the past three years, and when talk of a potential rematch this year comes up, the most common comment is "I'll take Brady against Trevor Siemian, thank you very much."
Oh, but if only it were that simple. You see, Brady is 2-7 at Denver in his career, and it wasn't John Elway handing him all those losses. Brady's been beaten in Denver by some less than legendary QBs — check out the list, then don't be too quick to bet against Siemian on Sunday.
(Trivia: Who are the two QBs Brady has beaten in Denver? Scroll down to the last slide to find out.)
Getty ImagesEzra Shaw
The Patriots were on their way to winning the Super Bowl in Brady's first season as starter back in 2001, but this 31-20 loss was the beginning of his Mile High horror story.
Brady threw a career-high 4 INTs, including a pick-six to Denard Walker to seal the loss. Griese was picked off just twice, and he rallied the Broncos with two third-quarter TD passes as they scored 21 unanswered to win.
Griese was in the third year of his four as the Broncos' starting QB. Aside from a couple strong seasons, Griese's career was pretty pedestrian, as evidenced by his 82.7 passer rating. But he had Brady's number, beating him again the next year in New England, too.
This content is subject to copyright.
Plummer got Brady not once but twice in 2005, beating him 28-20 in Week 6 and then 27-13 in the playoffs.
Brady and the defending Super Bowl champs fell behind big each time. Plummer was too perfect in the first meeting, as his 134 passer rating attests, while Brady was too imperfect in the playoffs, getting picked off twice.
Plummer, who enjoyed the only Pro Bowl season of his 10-year career in 2005, got Brady again the next season at New England, beating him 17-7.
This content is subject to copyright.
Who knew the key to making Orton look so good was to put him in throwback unis that look so bad? Orton lit up the Pats for 330 yards on 35-of-48 back in 2009, throwing a couple TDs to Brandon Marshall and rallying the Broncos from down 17-7 at halftime to win in OT on Matt Prater's kick.
It was just Brady's fifth game after missing the 2008 season with a torn ACL. Orton was in his first season as the Broncos' starter and while he was solid, he went 4-14 the next two seasons to end his days in Denver. He played for four teams in his last four seasons.
Remember when Osweiler looked like the next Broncos starting QB back in 2015? He handed a 10-0 Patriots team its first loss, rallying Denver from down 21-7 in the fourth quarter and winning in OT, despite 3 TD passes by a better Brady.
Osweiler was in the midst of a six-game run in relief of Peyton Manning. But when the young QB struggled down the stretch, coach Gary Kubiak went back to the 39-year-old Manning in the regular-season finale, and he got the call against the defending Super Bowl champs when they met in the AFC championship game.
And for more on that game ...
Getty ImagesGetty Images
Now, you see "Peyton Manning" and you say "Hey, he's a legendary QB." And he sure was in the AFC championship game in January 2014, completing 32 of 43 passes for 400 yards and 2 TDs in a 26-16 victory over the Pats. Brady had beaten his rival in OT in Week 12 at New England, and was stellar in this start, but it didn't matter as Manning was leading the Broncos to the Super Bowl in his second season in Denver.
However, when the teams met again in Denver for last season's AFC title game, Manning was a shell of his former self. He'd been hurt and benched for Osweiler before regaining his starting job for the regular-season finale. He threw just 9 TDs and 17 INTs that season.
But as we all know, Manning's final season was charmed. He threw 2 TDs to Owen Daniels in the AFC title game to stake Denver to the lead, and the Broncos held on 20-18 when Brady's two-point conversion pass to Julian Edelman was picked off. Brady had one of the worst games of his career, getting picked off two more times, sacked four times and completing less than 50 percent of his passes for the first time in his playoff career.
(Trivia answer: The two QBs Brady has beaten in Denver: Tim Tebow in 2011 and Danny Kanell in 2003.)