"There were a lot of opportunities in the game that, if we were able to coach better, play better, execute better in any of those areas, it would have given us a chance," Belichick said.
Manning said Belichick is the best coach he's ever had to go against. The quarterback insisted this week's showdown against Brady was more Broncos vs. Patriots than Manning vs. Brady. He lets others decide who's the greatest at this or that.
But he earned a chance to improve on his already-sterling legacy -- one that figures to leave him holding his fifth MVP trophy come Super Bowl week.
A win at MetLife Stadium in two weeks would put him in the same company brother Eli, along with Elway, Roger Staubach and a few others as a two-time Super Bowl winner.
Two weeks for Manning to prepare might feel like a lifetime.
At times, his long, difficult comeback has felt like a lifetime, too.
"We've definitely come a long way in two years," Manning said. "And bouncing back from last year's playoff loss to put ourselves in this position, it definitely feels very gratifying."
Initial X-rays done on Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno in the rib area were negative, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson. Moreno left Sunday's game in the fourth quarter with a chest injury.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.