The key to the Patriots' victory was a strong offensive performance by a proven combination: Tom Brady had looked away from Wes Welker earlier in the year, but the two were back to their old ways, as Greg Knopping of Pats Pulpit noted:
The Patriots were extremely efficient on offense all day, and really had the no huddle going strong. Tom Brady was 23 for 31 in the air, connecting with Wes Welker 12 times. Welker was a third down machine, and also picked up a first quarter touchdown.
New England had 444 yards on offense and set a franchise record with 35 first downs. However, fans might have been worried by the team's defensive play, as Manning led his team effortlessly late, only coming up on the wrong end when Willis McGahee dropped an easy catch on fourth down and fumbled the ball in Patriots territory.
Peyton Manning shredded the Patriots pass defense, and while there was some strong individual play, you can't help but wonder what Manning could have done had the Patriots not controlled the ball so well on offense.