Manning leads from the front as Broncos secure Super Bowl spot
Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are heading to the Super Bowl after a 26-16 victory over Tom Brady's New England Patriots in the AFC championship game.
Manning threw for 400 yards and two touchdowns last night to lead Denver to their first trip to the NFL title game in 15 years.
It marks the next big step for Manning in a comeback from the multiple neck surgeries that almost ended his career before his move from the Indianapolis Colts to the Broncos.
Manning led his side on a pair of seven-minute-plus touchdown drives in the first half which drained the life out of the Patriots defence while also restricting their ability to build any attacking momentum.
The second of those drives gave Denver a 20-3 lead just after half-time, thanks to touchdowns from Jacob Tamme and Demaryius Thomas.
The Patriots rallied somewhat in the later stages but could never get back to within touching distance of the Broncos, who played the role of front-runners to perfection.
Brady ran for a touchdown himself from four yards with three minutes remaining to bring the score to 26-16, however New England failed to convert the two-point conversion, meaning they still needed two scores in order to win.
As expected, the Patriots then attempted an onside kick, however this was comfortably recovered by the Broncos, who secured another first down and ran out the clock to earn a spot in the showpiece, which takes place in New Jersey's MetLife Stadium on February 2.
Manning improved to 5-10 lifetime against Brady and is now 2-1 in AFC title games. The Patriots earned only 64 yards rushing and most of Brady's 277 yards came after New England had fallen behind by 20.