Broncos hold off Chargers 24-17, thanks to Peyton Manning

manning22222The Denver Broncos led the San Diego Chargers 17-0 after the first three quarters, but then had to hold on in the 4th as the Chargers came roaring back in scoring 17 points before falling short 24-17 in their playoff game at the Sports Authority Field in Denver, Colorado. The Chargers scored three times in the 4th quarter alone, and if not for two key throws of Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning in the Broncos final drive, the Chargers would have had a chance to win the game.

The win for the Broncos puts them in the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots in Denver. It’ll be a rematch of Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning. The Broncos lost to the Patriots 34-31 in overtime last November in Foxboro, MA. But this time the game will be in Denver, and that might be enough for the Broncos to win the game.

Last year the Broncos missed out on making it to the AFC Championship game when they lost at home against the Baltimore Ravens. This time, however, the Broncos were able to hold onto the lead with the help of Manning taking the Broncos on as time-consuming drive with 3:51 remaining in the game that ran out the clock on the Chargers. The Chargers had a chance to stop the Broncos twice on 3rd and long situations, but Manning was able to complete passes in both instances to Julius Thomas to keep the drives going.

It was a cold game in the 30s, but not nearly as cold as some of the games the Broncos have been playing in recently. Manning seemed to play better with the temperatures not super cold.

The Chargers wasted a lot of time trying to get their running game going. It wasn’t until the 2nd half of the game with them trailing 17-0, that then Chargers finally realized that they were wasting their time trying to run the football on the stingy Broncos defense. They then let quarterback Philip Rivers do his thing and this changed the whole pattern of the game, as the Broncos couldn’t stop Rivers. It’s just too bad that the Chargers didn’t abandon the run early in the game and focus on Rivers throwing the football, because they would have likely scored a couple of touchdowns in the 1st half if they had let him throw on 1st and 2nd downs.

Rivers completed 18 of 27 passes for 217 yards for 2 touchdowns.

Manning completed 25 of 36 passes for 230 yards with a completion percentage of 69.4 and 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.