It is always nice for a team to have a playoff game at home. The atmosphere, the screaming and chanting of 76,000+ fans. It sure helped the Denver Broncos in a big way.
In the Divisional Round win over the San Diego Chargers, it was proven that the crowd noise played the ultimate home field advantage. Fans at the game and watching the game from home, saw a frustrated Phillip Rivers being called for delay of game, forcing the Chargers offense to use multiple timeouts early on. The Chargers were forced to use two timeouts early in the first half and then with the play clock running out with seconds left in the first, Rivers knew he could not afford to use another timeout. In a fit of rage, he was forced to take a delay of game penalty as he received the snap from the center and slammed the ball on the ground.
But the noise of the Broncos’ faithful did not stop there. In the third quarter, Rivers got frustrated again and was forced to use a timeout, as he stomped over to the sidelines. We then saw Broncos defensive end Robert Ayers mimic Rivers’ outburst, which proved to be of comic relief in a rather intense and derailing moment for the Chargers. The Broncos seemed to have fun with it.
The crowd even helped out when the Broncos had the football, as the Chargers defense was called for multiple neutral zone infraction penalties that gave the Broncos free yards and further helped them move the chains and made each down a short yard to go, to help keep the ball in the Broncos offense. Perhaps we have seen the 12th Man for the Denver Broncos in action on Sunday.
Look for the Mile High crowd to be even louder during the AFC Championship Game when the New England Patriots come to town. They will definitely try to get into Tom Brady‘s head like they did to Rivers.