Needing a win to take home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs the Denver Broncos went into Oakland and took care of business defeating the pitiful Raiders 34-14. The Broncos scored early and often, running out to a 31-0 halftime lead behind another incredible performance by soon to be MVP Peyton Manning. The Broncos veteran quarterback destroyed the NFL records for passing yards and touchdowns in a season, throwing four more touchdown passes in the Broncos victory. Manning finished the regular season with an incredible 5,477 yards passing and 55 touchdowns. As usual Manning spread the ball around, throwing two touchdowns to Demaryius Thomas and strikes to Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno.
Where the game was won: It was all Manning once again. The future Hall of Famer completed 25 of 28 passes, the highest completion percentage in his career in a game where he threw at least 28 passes. Oakland, playing out the string in yet another tough season, provided very little opposition in the game. The Broncos had 458 total yards en route to resting Manning for much of the second half. In addition to the huge game from Manning the Broncos had another game of balanced rushing with Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman and Moreno combined for 129 yards rushing. The Broncos defense, without star passing rusher Von Miller, was huge early, only giving up two late garbage time touchdowns to the Raiders. After re-setting the record for touchdown passes on a season last week when Manning passed Tom Brady’s record, the Broncos quarterback passed Drew Brees’s record for passing yardage in a season. Manning’s passing efficiency rating of 113 was a full 16 points over his career average. Victory in hand the Broncos will wait to see who comes out on top in the AFC wild card round before they host a divisional round game in two weeks time. The Broncos will face the lowest ranked winner between the Bengals, Chargers, Colts and Chiefs.
Up next for Denver: Based on the wild card games the Broncos would likely prefer to face anyone but the Colts who beat them behind in Indianapolis two months ago. The Broncos swept the Chiefs this season, and split with the Chargers. If the Bengals win the Broncos cannot face Cincinnati since they are the third seed in the playoffs. The interesting matchup for Denver could be San Diego. The Broncos lost at home to the Chargers two weeks ago behind a big defensive performance for the Chargers. San Diego did the best job of slowing down the Broncos offense of any team Denver faced this season. If San Diego can manage to defeat the Bengals they’ll travel to Denver. If Cincinnati beats the Chargers the Broncos are guaranteed to play either the Colts or Chiefs. By: Chris Cabrera
Just when it looked like the San Diego Chargers would suffer a disappointing loss to a Chiefs team without quarterback Alex Smith the Chargers overcame a ten point fourth quarter deficit to win the game and make the playoffs in Mike McCoy’s first year as the team’s head coach. After Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop missed a field goal that would have won the game for Kansas City in regulation Chargers kicker Nick Novak nailed a game winning field goal in overtime. The Chargers moved the ball into field goal range after a gutsy fourth down fake punt call. Eric Weddle gained the fourth down for San Diego on the fake, extending the Chargers eventual game-winning drive. The Chargers were able to clinch a playoff spot after both Baltimore and Miami lost games that could have clinched them a playoff spot. The Chargers, one of three teams to make the playoffs from the AFC West, will travel to Cincinnati next weekend to take on the AFC North winning Bengals. Chargers Tickets
for the all road playoff games are available now.
Where the game was won
: The Chargers, who many counted out just a few weeks ago, had a tougher than expected time overcoming a game Kansas City team. The Chiefs were playing without their quarterback Alex Smith and star running back Jamal Charles. Chase Daniel, the former Missouri Tigers star, put together a solid game for Kansas City, leading them to an eventual ten point fourth quarter lead. The Chiefs defense held tight and scored the game’s only third quarter points on a Succop field goal to make the score 24-14. Down ten Philip Rivers and the Chargers pulled within a touchdown on an Eddie Royal six yard TD catch. The Chargers would score again on a Nick Novak field goal with just over three minutes left to tie the game. Succop’s miss would send the game to overtime where the Chargers prevailed.
Up next for the Chargers
: The Chargers travel to Cincinnati to take on a physical Bengals team that defeated San Diego 17-10 in San Diego just a month ago. The Bengals have one of the most talented young rosters in the NFL, led by quarterback Andy Dalton, wide receiver AJ Green and running back Giovani Bernard. The Bengals held San Diego to a season-low in points in their last meeting, stymieing the running game while overcoming the Chargers with a solid running game. The combination of BenJarvus Green Ellis and Bernard gained 164 yards on 34 attempts. To defeat the Bengals on the road the Chargers will need to control the Bengals running game while not giving up any turnovers to Cincinnati. If San Diego can hold onto the football and play their usual ball control offense they can force Andy Dalton to beat them.
The Chargers pull the upset behind a solid performance by Philip Rivers. The Chargers quarterback and running back Ryan Mathews lead a ball control offense that keeps the ball out of the hands of Bengals star receiver AJ Green. 24-23 Bengals.
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