This, he said, is what Denver expected. This, as echoed by four of his players, is what he knew his team was capable of accomplishing. "Our message is to be the same guy," Fox said. "Don't get too high; don't get too low."
Harrison: Divisional sneak peek
How will things play out in the divisional round of the playoffs? Elliot Harrison gives an early breakdown of all four games. **More ...**
Who can blame them? Houston won by 21 points, and New Orleans won by 17. Denver beat the league's top-ranked defense, while New York's defense posted a shutout. That's all enough to maintain hope without even having to remind each that four of the past six Super Bowl winners also had to first win a wild-card game.
"We understand what mission we have in front of us and we have to take care of that," wide receiver Victor Cruz said. "So we just have to have another good week of preparation like we did, and this next one should be good."
It's well and good, all deservedly inspiring performances that will fuel each team -- whether they admit it or not -- as they move forward. But before any of these four teams gets their fingers fitted for rings, there are four reasons to chill out: The Packers, the Patriots, the Ravens and the 49ers.
Are we not to assume they'll be even better prepared this time around?
Denver's success against Pittsburgh is obviously not going unnoticed, nor is it being disrespected. The Steelers' defense was the best in the NFL heading into that game, considered one of the teams most likely to make that run from a wild-card team to a Super Bowl winner, and Tim Tebow dismantled the unit with one pass after another.
Before any of the four wild-card teams get their fingers fitted for rings, there are four reasons to chill out: The Packers, the Patriots, the Ravens and the 49ers.
"I was in there for the first couple of plays until I tweaked my hammy, then I was out," McGahee said Monday about that last game. "So it was really a difference-maker for us. I think that had a lot to do with (the loss)."
Maybe, maybe not. Surely, nobody is denying that any of the four winners from the Wild Card Weekend can march into this divisional round and pick up a win. Surely, each of the top-seeded teams will be a little apprehensive about making any guarantees after watching the magic orchestrated by Tebow on Sunday.
But before any of these wild-card winners convince themselves that they will become the next underdogs-turned-champions, they'll want to look what's in front of them. Four very solid teams have yet to show their stuff during this playoff run, instead spending their weekends at home watching three games decided by 17 points or more.
Four teams had special performances Saturday and Sunday, showing the rest of the league why they belong. Now, four teams await, with every intention and hope of showing them why they don't.