Sometimes irony is funny, and sometimes irony just plain stinks.
Ironic is the best quarterback in the NFL, a man in the running for MVP, playing his worst game at the worst possible time.
When Manning and the Denver offense first got the ball, with the game tied 7-7, he threw the pigskin to Eric Decker, which was tipped and picked off by Corey Graham, returned 39 yards to the house for a touchdown and the 14-7 lead. The veteran quarterback asked for a pass interference penalty, and after reviewing the replay it look as if the defender pulled down Decker's arm just before the ball arrived. Still, no penalty was called and the play stood.
In the third quarter, with the pocket collapsing around him, Manning was hit from both sides and had the ball stripped from his hands. He fumbled on Denver's 37, which set the Ravens up with fantastic field position that they capitalized on with a Ray Rice one-yard TD run to tie the game at 28-all.
But the real head-scratcher came in the epic contest's second overtime, when Manning threw an interception that sealed the fate of his team and their season. Manning, feeling pressure from his left, rolled to the right and when no one was open, tried to force a pass into Brandon Stokley by throwing across his body and tossing another pick to Graham.
The first rule of quarterbacking is not to ever throw back across your body and across the field, because the momentum will sap all the strength, though he broke that rule and paid mightily. Interestingly, Manning did the same thing earlier in the season, that time, connecting with Stokley for a touchdown.
When the Ravens took over at Denver's 45, it was all but certain they would win the game. Ray Rice's first down run set up the 47-yard kick that Justin Tucker nailed to end the game and end the Broncos season in sadness.
Maybe most heartbreaking part for Denver fans is the fact that Manning – the man that made all the difference all season long – was the one that cost the team the game and ended the season with his poor play.
He finished 28-43 for 290 yards with three touchdowns, two interceptions and one fumble – one of his lowest-rated games of the season.
And with the loss, he's now 0-4 all-time in playoff games with kickoff temperatures under 40 degrees, leaving everyone wondering if Manning will ever win a cold game in the postseason.
It's something he'll have to do if he wants to win another Super Bowl while playing in the Mile High City.
More Denver Broncos:
Rich Kurtzman is a freelance journalist. You can follow Rich on twitter or facebook for all your Denver Broncos news and opinion.