If you would have bet on one of the teams in the AFC championship game handing off to a tight end, you'd have bet it all on New England and Bill Belichick doing it.
It turns out that John Fox and the Broncos had their own tricks for Sunday's game.
Virgil Green became the most unlikely player to receive a carry when Peyton Manning handed off to him in the second quarter of Sunday's game. Green not only had no carries in his career – this shouldn't be a surprise for a 6-5, 255-pound tight end – but he had just nine catches this season.
Green lined up on the backfield and give the Broncos this: The Patriots probably never figured they'd hand the tight end the ball. But Manning did and Green plowed ahead up the middle for 6 yards. It seemed like a little bit of a tweak to a Patriots team that lined up tight end Aaron Hernandez as a running back in recent years. It also showed that the Broncos were willing to use anyone in any role to beat the Patriots and advance to the Super Bowl.
While Green's big run wasn't the biggest play of the drive, it did help during the Broncos' first touchdown drive. The first quarter-plus of the AFC title game was a surprising defensive struggle. The Broncos led 3-0 before a long drive that included Green's run ended with a touchdown to tight end Jacob Tamme.
Unlike Green's run, the Broncos used the traditional route on that play and passed Tamme the ball.
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