Both players had been stalwart throughout the game. Stewart picked off Tom Brady and served as the Broncos enforcer over the middle, laying huge hits to the Patriots receivers if they dared to cross into his zone.
Ward was his usual self, stoking the Broncos emotionally and playing physical football on the field. Ward left with an ankle injury, while Stewart left with a knee injury.
Ward has battled an ankle injury this season and Stewart's issue has been a hamstring. Coupled with the injuries sustained Sunday, can we expect to see them in Santa Clara, CA?
The Broncos will need both players if they're to knock off the 17-1 Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. For what it's worth, Josh Bush and Shiloh Keo played admirably in the place of the injured starters — especially Bush.
Keo was flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty that cost the Broncos 15 yards and was on the losing end of a couple big Rob Gronkowski plays late in the game.
He played hard, but coverage is not Keo's forte. Stewart's absence is keenly felt because communication becomes difficult. He makes sure everyone's lined up right and knows their responsibilities.
Let's hope Stewart and Ward hold true to their word and are ready to go for Super Bowl 50. Fortunately, they have two weeks to recover.
Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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