(DENVER) — Peyton Manning tossed a pair of touchdown passes as the Denver Broncos held off the San Diego Chargers 24-17 on Sunday to advance to the AFC Championship Game.
Denver (14-3) took a 17-0 lead into the fourth quarter before San Diego came storming back. Manning and company did just enough in the final frame to propel themselves into the championship game for the first time in eight seasons.
Manning threw for 230 yards in the win. Knowshon Moreno carried the ball 23 times for 82 yards and a touchdown as the Broncos controlled the clock. They held the football for 35 minutes and 27 seconds in this game, to San Diego’s 24:33.
“If we got it one more time, I believe deep down we would’ve tied that thing up,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. “But we didn’t. Those are all a bunch of what-ifs.”
The Broncos will host the New England Patriots (13-4) on Sunday for the right to play in the Super Bowl.
“It’s the Broncos versus the Patriots and certainly Tom and I have played against each other a lot,” Manning said. “But when you get to the AFC championship, it’s about two good teams that have been through a lot to get there.”
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Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN