NFL NOTEBOOK: Bailey heading to first Super Bowl
Champ Bailey has pretty much accomplished everything there is to on a football field.
Well, with one glaring exception, which the Denver Broncos cornerback finally remedied Sunday — he’s headed to his first Super Bowl.
Bailey turned in one of his best performances of the season to help the Denver Broncos to a 26-16 win over New England on Sunday in the AFC championship game.
The 15-year veteran downplayed his emotions after the game, saying there’s “still another game to play.”
But his broad smile
betrayed his true feelings, especially after missing a good portion of the season because of a lingering foot injury.
“I’m certainly happy for Champ. I know a lot of people are,” said Peyton Manning, who’s going to his third Super Bowl. “I’m glad he’s back out there on the field.”
In the locker room, the 35-year-old Bailey had a lengthy chat with former safety John Lynch.
Nearly eight years ago, the two were teammates when the Pittsburgh Steelers arrived at Mile High and beat the Broncos, 34-17.
That’s as close as Bailey’s come to the Super Bowl — until now.
“Well, that guy deserves it, man,” Lynch said. “I’m happy for him, proud of him. I said he’d play really big and I think quietly he really did. I thought he played outstanding and I knew he would because he’s that kind of competitor.”
HALTED GROUND GAME: LeGarrette Blount couldn’t be stopped a week ago, bashing his way for 166 yards and four TDs against Indy.
On Sunday, he couldn’t get going against the Broncos. Neither could Stevan Ridley. No one could for the Patriots, who gained just 64 yards on the ground.
That certainly surprised cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
“They were averaging 150 yards coming in so you thought they’d run the ball, but they got down fast and had to throw,” he said.
STATS: 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick rushed for a team-high 130 yards, 98 in the first half, but passed for only 153. His QB rating was just 56.4, and was almost doubled by Seattle’s Russell Wilson (104.6).
Frank Gore managed only 14 yards on 11 carries, matching his low for the season. He had 16 yards at Seattle in a Week 2 loss.
Doug Baldwin led Seattle with six catches for 106 yards and had a 69-yard kickoff return. Marshawn Lynch rushed for 109 yards, including a 40-yard scoring run. He has four 100-yard performances in six postseason games.
Seattle has won seven straight home playoff games.
RECORD CROWD: Seattle set another stadium record with 68,454 tickets distributed for Sunday’s game. It was the second straight week with a stadium record after setting a mark with 68,388 for the divisional playoff game last week against New Orleans.
BRING ON DENVER: The Seahawks trail the all-time series with the Broncos 35-19 — Seattle was in the AFC until 2002.
But the Seahawks won the only postseason meeting, 31-7 in 1983 at the Kingdome in Seattle’s first playoff game.
Denver lost 40-10 at CenturyLink Field in the preseason last summer, when Peyton Manning went 11-for-16 for 163 yards and a touchdown.