Not trying to call you out Shooter, but did Manning play "uncharacteristic" yesterday? I think he had his "normal" game. What was uncharacteristic was that the Denver secondary that had played very well all year long played like crap. And John Fox, the guy that I've called too conservative for his own good, I think got too conservative for his own good.
It goes back to teams winning. You saw Baltimore play well as a team. Flacco had a good game, Torrey Smith looked good. They were able to get good contribution from Ray Rice, get multiple TOs, and they pressured Manning (3 sacks), basically doing all the things they needed to do to pull the upset. The only "wrench" was the 2 ST TDs. The fact that the Ravens were able to overcome that shows resiliency, but I also agree it was the Broncos losing it more than the Ravens winning it. But when you're going to be a 4, 5, or 6 seed like Baltimore and make a deep run, you almost always get/need a game where you get some breaks.
They also got most of the calls from the refs, which also helped. If I'm a Bronco fan, I'm disgusted right now. Rahim Moore, John Fox, and the refs are probably drawing most of my ire. Manning doesn't even factor in my thoughts one bit.
We manufacture this narrative that when a team wins, the QB inspired and led his team to play at a high level, and when they lose it was a failure on that leadership. That is a big steaming pile of BS.
Like the story will be Joe Flacco was awesome, and I don't deny he played well, and definitely earned a "W." But the reality is that he threw 2 prayers in that game. On one, the S was out of position and they got a fluke TD. He did it again later and it should have been picked, but the defender dropped the ball. But those facts won't be added to the narrative, because they don't jibe with the story we want to tell. The narrative we want to tell is that Flacco is a great leader. When the cold, hard reality is that Flacco is a great vertical passer and that proved to be the difference in the game. Leadership and poise had nothing to do with it.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.