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Peyton Manning, Broncos Top Chargers 24-17

Christian Petersen, Getty Images

It’s the AFC matchup everyone wanted to see: Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady.

Manning and the Broncos will host Brady and the Patriots in next weekend’s AFC title game after Denver took care of the San Diego Chargers 24-17 in Sunday’s final NFL Divisional game.

Wes Welker returned to action with six catches for 38 yards and a touchdown, one of two Manning TD’s on the game. The other went to Demariyus Thomas who had eight grabs for 54 yards.

Ezra Shaw, Getty Images

After being shutout for the first three quarters, Philip Rivers threw a pair of touchdown passes to Keenan Allen in the fourth, helping pull the Chargers to within striking range at 24-14.

San Diego then recovered an onside kick then drove into field goal range, setting up Nick Novak’s from 30 yards out to make it a one score game.

But, the Chargers opted not to onside again, instead kicking the ball down the field. The never possessed the ball again.

Manning – whose game line was 230 yards, 2 TD’s and 1 INT – was able to chew up the final 3:53 in regulation with a 10 play 40-yard drive including three third down conversion and a 21-yard pass and catch the Julius Thomas on a third-and-17 that would have forced Denver to punt from deep in their own territory.

Thomas ended with six catches and 76 yards.

Allen led all receivers with six grabs, 143 yards and two scores in the losing effort.

Denver’s ground game was bolstered by Knowshon Moreno’s 82 yards and touchdown on 23 carries.

San Diego got nine carries and 29 yards from Danny Woodhead and jus five carries and 26 yards for Ryan Mathews.

 

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