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Halftime: Patriots start slow, trail Broncos 17-9

After 30 minutes of football, the New England Patriots trail the Broncos 17-9 in the AFC Championship.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

We are 30 minutes into the AFC Championship, and the Patriots could be in serious trouble.

After a quick punt by the Patriots, the Broncos would march straight down the field for a touchdown on the opening drive. The Patriots started with a lot of zone coverage, allowing Manning to pick his spots, and not forcing him to beat you with his arm.

The Patriots did adjust to this, moving to more tight man after the drive. They've also been dominant in stopping the run, something we knew they would need to do to be competitive in this game.

Linebacker Jamie Collins has been caught out of position on two Peyton Manning touchdown throws.

On offense, the protection for quarterback Tom Brady has been downright terrible. Brady has yet to take confidence in his offensive line. He is not stepping into throws, and has made two poor decisions that have resulted in interceptions. The running game has been nearly non-existent for the Patriots (although Steven Jackson scored their lone touchdown from a yard out).

How strange has this performance been for the Patriots? Even Stephen Gostkowski has a mistake: he missed an extra point for the first time since his rookie season.

Despite all of this, the Patriots trail the Broncos but just one touchdown. The Broncos do get the ball to start the second half, however.