With the Broncos losing to the San Diego Chargers early in the second half and in danger of having to play a road game in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, Denver turned back to Peyton Manning and the future Hall of Famer saved the day.
Returning to action for the first time in six weeks because of various injuries, Manning was serving as a backup for the first time since his days at the University of Tennessee. However, with the Broncos’ offence struggling, committing five turnovers in their first nine drives, head coach Gary Kubiak decided to make the switch, bringing Manning in.
If there was any doubt as to how Broncos fans feel, just listen to the reaction by the crowd. They went nuts.
It wasn’t the most-prolific performance of Manning’s career. He was just 5-9 for 69 yards and no touchdowns in the second half. But he did what was needed, orchestrating the offence and always seeming to make the right audible at the right time.
More importantly, the offence just seemed to be rejuvenated under Manning and they protected the ball, allowing the rushing attack and the defence to take over the game.
The move worked. Instead of going on the road in the first-round of the playoffs, the Broncos came back to win 27-20. The win clinched a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
The Broncos also seemed to settle any debate about who will be their starting quarterback in the playoffs, and it will be the one who has won a Super Bowl and five MVP awards.
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