Broncos-Patriots overtime thriller on NBC's 'Sunday Night Football' tops for a primetime November game in 17 yearsby jmaloni
Last night's NBC "Sunday Night Football" thriller featuring Tom Brady leading the New England Patriots to a team-record setting 34-31 overtime win against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in "Manning-Brady XIV" - the 14th meeting between the future Hall of Fame quarterbacks - posted a 17.0 overnight rating and 28 share (8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET), marking the best primetime overnight for a November game in 17 years and a 26 percent increase over last season's week 12 "SNF" game (13.5 for Green Bay-New York Giants).
The Patriots' epic comeback victory - they trailed 24-0 at halftime - kept viewers tuned in late, as the "SNF" overnight rating peaked from 11:30 p.m.-midnight at 17.9/34. In addition, "SNF" more than doubled the overnight rating of primetime's second-ranked entertainment show for the night - the American Music Awards (8.2/12 on ABC)
Coupled with last week's 16.6/27 overnight for Kansas City-Denver, NBC's back-to-back "SNF" contests are the first consecutive primetime games (not including "NFL Kickoff" games) since '96 in which a network posted overnight ratings of 16.6 or higher.
Brady passed for 344 yards and three touchdowns as the Patriots posted the largest come-from-behind victory in club history. He led New England (now 8-3) to 31 consecutive second-half points to take a 31-24 fourth-quarter lead before Manning capped a 10-play, 80-yard Denver scoring drive with a game-tying 11-yard TD pass to Demaryius Thomas with 3:06 left in regulation. Denver (9-2) and New England each had two possessions in overtime before Stephen Gostkowski kicked the 31-yard game-winning field goal with 1:56 remaining.
The previous best November primetime NFL overnight was an 18.0/29 for Pittsburgh-Miami on ABC on Nov. 25, 1996, as Kordell Stewart rushed for a touchdown and Mike Tomczak threw a TD pass to lead the first-place Steelers to a 24-17 come-from-behind win over Dan Marino (254 passing yards, one TD) and the Dolphins. The week prior, on Nov. 18, 1996, the defending Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys' 21-6 win over Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers on ABC posted a 21.5/32 overnight.
The Patriots' memorable "Sunday Night Football" victory is the fifth-highest Sunday overnight in the eight-year history of NBC's primetime package (excluding "NFL Kickoff" games), and ranks second this season behind the 17.3 for Manning's return to Indianapolis Oct. 20.