The Broncos didn’t turn the ball over against the Steelers last weekend, but their streak ran out late in the first quarter of the AFC championship game.
It took a Bill Belichick challenge to make it happen. A pass from Peyton Manning to Ronnie Hillman was ruled incomplete on the field, but Belichick challenged that it was actually an incompletion. Referee Ed Hochuli ruled in Belichick’s favor and the ball went to the Patriots because Jonathan Freeny made a clear recovery.
The pass went off Hillman’s hands, but the back made no effort to grab the ball off the ground. That cost the Broncos most of their lead as Steven Jackson plunged into the end zone two plays later.
The Broncos still lead 7-6 because Stephen Gostkowski missed the extra point. He had made 523 straight extra points before that try, a streak that dated back to the final game of the 2006 season.