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peyton manning

Manning Passes to Elementary Students

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denver broncosAfter working out with his teammates as part of phase one of the Broncos’ voluntary offseason conditioning program, quarterback Peyton Manning loosened up his arm with a few passes in the afternoon.

However, it wasn’t Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Emmanuel Sanders or Andre Caldwell catching passes from the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback.

It was students at Hallett Elementary School in Denver that had the opportunity to have Manning as their all-time quarterback in gym class on Tuesday.

Manning surprised the students with a visit to promote healthy and active lifestyles. Manning was part of the Playworks organization’s initiative to get kids up and moving around during the day.

Playworks Colorado, which began in 2010, currently serves 5,500 students in 18 low-income schools in Denver, Aurora and Northglenn.

The students were split into four groups that rotated through various activity stations. Manning quarterbacked the gym station where one student would line up on defense and one at wide receiver. Manning would huddle with each route-runner and then throw a pass to the student with another student defending.

 

Source: Denver Broncos

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The Seahawks are swell. We all agree.

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It was all over, including the shouting.

The Seahawks’ magical 2013 season had come to its official end with a parade through more than 700,000 cheering fans and a championship celebration before 50,000 going-bonkers 12th Man fans at CenturyLink Field and 27,000 more at Safeco Field across the street. It was a sendoff befitting a Super Bowl champion, which the Seahawks became with their 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday night.

Before he left the stadium Wednesday, coach Pete Carroll held one more Q&A session with the media – in the same room where he had addressed them after each of the Seahawks’ 10 home games during the regular season and postseason.

Pete Carrol says never mind the past. We look to the future

Pete Carrol says never mind the past. We look to the future

But this one was different, because this season was different. For starters, it ended later than all but one of the Seahawks’ previous 37 seasons – with the exception being 2005, when the Seahawks lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super XL on Feb. 5, 2006.

So coach, are you behind already in the quest to not only defend, but extend, the Seahawks’ reign as Super Bowl champs?

“No,” Carroll said. “John (Schneider, the general manger) is all over it. So no, not at all.”

While the team was in New Jersey last week preparing for the Super Bowl, Schneider was meeting with his staff to prepare for the NFL Scouting Combine Feb. 19-25, the next big step for the May 8-10 NFL Draft; as well as the free agency period, which begins March 11.

As has been the case since Carroll and Schneider arrived in 2010, their first priority is retaining their own players who are scheduled to become free agents – a list that includes defensive lineman Michael Bennett, who led the team in sacks; and wide receiver Golden Tate, who led the team in receiving.

“We want this team together, we want to see if we can keep this team together,” Carroll said. “Every decision is difficult that we have to face. And guys that are at the end of their contracts, those are big issues for us. We love the guys; we love what they do and what they bring. And we’d like to keep it together as best we can.

“John will be faced with some really challenging discussions and things to get that done, but we’ll be very much in concert on it and what we want to get done and then we’ll go set about it one step at a time. And it’ll take us a good while, always with our eye on what’s going on with the draft and all that, and we’ll see if we put it together just right.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Players Celebrate 48

As for free agency, the Seahawks will be choosey, as they have been in the past, because they can afford to be after what Schneider and Carroll have done the past four offseasons.

“We have what we need,” Carroll said. “We just need to get back to work, when the time comes, with the right attitude and the right focus. That’s all I’m concerned about. We’ll have an opportunity to add some players to our team through the draft and all. We’ll take a good look at free agency.

“I don’t see anything that we need to add. We just need to get better.”

The players will be around Virginia Mason Athletic Center in the coming weeks and months, but the offseason program does not start until April 21.

“It seems like forever,” Carroll said. “I think we walk out of here totally arm in arm with the fact that we’re going to have a great offseason. That means that the guys have to be totally committed to having a great offseason, because they’re going to have a lot of distractions and a lot of people pulling them in different directions.”

Carroll addressed that during the final team meeting on Tuesday, when the players also cleaned out their lockers and took their exit physicals.

“Quite frankly, each guy’s got to set his plan in motion and not let the distractions get in the way of the hard work that it takes to put this thing back together again,” Carroll said.

“It’s an extraordinary opportunity, because it’s so difficult for teams to come back and play well after winning the Super Bowl. We take that challenge on now, nose to nose. We’re going to go after it and see what we can do about it.”

And Carroll doesn’t care for talk of a repeat – as no team has repeated as Super Bowl champion since the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004, and they were the first to do it since the Broncos in 1997 and 1998. Or even the Super Bowl, for that matter. He’s all about improving each day, which allows you to improve each week, which allows you to improve each season.

“Let me say it even more specifically, it’s not about repeating to me,” he said. “That isn’t it. We’re trying to do something really good for a really long time. And we want to see how far we can go, and someday we can look back and see what we accomplished. In the middle of it, I don’t think it’s time to assess it.

PHOTO GALLERY: Fans Celebrate 48

“In this year, I never talked about the Super Bowl. I talked about trying to help these guys be the best they possibly can be.”

And in 2013, the Seahawks were the best in team in all of football.

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Broncos lose first game of the season to the Colts

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Manning loses shootout to Andrew Luck

 

INDIANAPOLIS – It almost seemed right. Just as he had done so many times before, quarterbackPeyton Manning had the opportunity to engineer a game-winning drive at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Only this time, it would be for the opposing team. But on the first play of the pivotal fourth-quarter series, his team down just six points, Manning threw an interception after his arm was hit when he released the ball.

Manning loses QB duel to Luck

Manning loses QB duel to Luck

That allowed Indianapolis to pull out to a nine-point lead, and by the time Denver pulled back to within one possession, it was too late, as an onside kick attempt failed with 12 seconds remaining in the game. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck took a knee to seal a 39-33 victory, dropping the Broncos to 6-1 on the season.

“We still had a chance there at the end,” Manning said. “We did fight and hung in there. We can learn from it. We certainly have to improve from this game because we weren’t as sharp execution-wise as we’d like.”

The Broncos had their chances.

Even after Manning’s interception allowed the Colts to make it 39-30, the Broncos offense responded quickly, driving all the way down to the Indianapolis 2-yard line. But a Ronnie Hillman fumble — the third turnover of the evening for the team — gave the ball back to Indy and allowed the Colts to run 1:35 off the clock and force Denver to use all three of its timeouts.

A 47-yard Matt Prater field goal moved the Broncos back within six, but the ensuing onside kick with just 12 seconds left on the clock failed.

“Anytime you turn the ball over (three) times, especially on the road, it’s going to be tough,” Head Coach John Fox said.

Earlier in the game, Manning fumbled when his arm was hit, but the ball was recovered out of bounds in the end zone — which meant it was a safety, but didn’t count against the turnover margin.

“That one was, among others, a couple of plays where we gave them some points and some field position,” Manning said. “Ultimately that was just too tough to overcome.”

The Broncos fell behind by as many as 19 points in the third quarter, but were able to claw back into the game thanks to key defensive stops down the stretch.

“I thought defensively we settled down,” Fox said. “We started playing smarter, tougher football and executed better in the second half.”

Key in the comeback was a forced fumble by safety Duke Ihenacho. He ripped the ball away from Colts running back Trent Richardson and recovered it himself, a takeaway the Broncos offense converted into a touchdown.

In the first half, the Colts scored 26 points. In the second, they were held to half that.

But the Broncos couldn’t quite get all the way back on top, and mistakes were costly. What stood out to Manning is the fact that, even with the mistakes, the team “still somehow had a chance to win that game.”

“I’d like to have seen it go to a two-point game down there toward the end and seen what would have happened,” Manning said. “Never quite got to that point.”

The Broncos got the Sunday Night Football scoring started when Manning found wide receiver Eric Decker – who finished with a game-high 150 receiving yards — for a 17-yard touchdown strike.

Denver fell behind 10-7, but a 12-yard score from Manning to tight end Julius Thomas put the club back ahead 14-10. Even after the safety, the Broncos still led, but a 20-yard touchdown from Luck to his fullback Stanley Havili in the second quarter gave Indianapolis a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

Six three-and-outs didn’t help Denver’s cause.

“I think they kind of kept us off balance a little bit and we weren’t able to get into a rhythm for a while,” Thomas said. “That’s not us, that’s not our identity and we have to clean that up.”

Linebacker Von Miller – who made his regular-season debut in the contest and finished with two tackles, a tackle for loss and two quarterback hurries — said the toughest part is knowing the team didn’t put its best foot forward.

“I think all phases of the ball, we could have done better,” he said. “We could have had a better effort, but that’s part of it. Get back in the lab, start working and get ready for Washington coming up.”

See video highlights:

http://www.denverbroncos.com/multimedia/videos/BTV_Highlights_Broncos_at_Colts/c3aa82f9-7a05-4f36-9567-c9e8a8a7d29f

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Bleacher Report on the Broncos/Ravens game

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BY DJ SIDDIQI

 (FEATURED COLUMNIST) ON JANUARY 13, 2013

3,891 reads

19 Icon_comment

 
 

Here on Jan. 12, 2013, it will forever be known as the day that the Ravens upset the heavily favored Broncos in double overtime, 38-35.

This was a painful loss. It wasn’t just a painful loss because the Broncos were heavily favored. It wasn’t because they were the No. 1 seed. It wasn’t because they had home-field advantage.

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No. It was because the Broncos blew a game that they had won. It would have been one thing if the Broncos lost this game in the fashion that the Green Bay Packers lost their game later on in the night to the Niners, where the Niners dominated the Packers.

In a weird way, this loss would have been less painful. Am I saying that’s the route that I would have preferred the Ravens-Broncos game went? No.

However, this has to be the worst loss that I’ve seen the Broncos suffer in a big game. Super Bowl blowout losses against NFC powerhouse teams in the ’80s are one thing; losing to the second-year ’96 Jaguars as Super Bowl favorites is about the only playoff loss that I can think of that is as painful as this one.

The Broncos had the game won.

Denver was up 35-28 with 1:15 remaining in the fourth quarter. Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense took over from their 23-yard line with no timeouts remaining.

On a 3rd-and-3 with very little hope of tying the game, Flacco and the Ravens managed to do the impossible by having a little skill, luck and bad football IQ coincide to make a great play.

 

 

Flacco heaved up a desperation pass to Jacoby Jones into double coverage. Tony Carter had Jones underneath and for whatever reason, Rahim Moore did the same. Instead of getting behind Jones to defend him high, Moore went underneath and Jones and badly misplayed the ball.

Moore did not come close to batting that ball. He whiffed big time and it looks even worse on the numerous replays you’re bound to sit through for the rest of your lives.

That wasn’t the worst of it.

The worst of it was, that for whatever reason, whether that’s due to natural instincts, lack of time to properly assess the play and situation at hand or nerves, Moore made the wrong decision in going underneath Jones to defend the pass.

If Rahim simply goes over Jones, even if Jacoby makes the catch, Moore would have tackled him inbounds 30 yards before Jones even gets to the end zone and the clock runs down to the point where the Ravens have one or two plays to run off before the end of the game.

What do you call that play?

A lack of football IQ. It was just a bad play by Moore—not knowing the situation at hand. He went all-out for that deflection and he got burned.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Broncos then headed into overtime. They played hard for nearly a full overtime period before Peyton Manning ended up throwing the game-losing interception.

Since I gave Moore a lot of flack for his one play that cost Denver the game, I have no choice to do the same for Manning.

I can excuse Peyton for the first-quarter interception because it wasn’t his fault. Did he try to fit the pass into a tight space? Yeah. But Eric Decker did get touched before the ball got to him which led to the deflection that led to Corey Graham’s interception return for a touchdown.

Can I forgive Peyton’s third-quarter fumble with the Broncos threatening to go up by two possessions for the second time in the game, only to fumble it away and have the Ravens march down the field to tie up the game at 21-all?

Somewhat.

Can I forget about Peyton’s interception by Corey Graham where Manning was rolling to his right and threw across his chest to the middle of the field only to have it intercepted?

No.

I will defend Peyton until the day that he proves he’s no longer the quarterback for the Broncos. He had one of the finest seasons of his career, led Denver to one of the best regular seasons in franchise history and has made this team a legit title contender.

I realize that as Broncos fans, some of us will get defensive over the criticism of Peyton’s performance in this game, largely summed up and highlighted by his interception to Graham in overtime that led to Justin Tucker’s game-winning field goal.

But the criticism is simply justified.

Did the Broncos lose this game because of one bad bone-headed move by Moore, followed by another bone-headed throw by Peyton? No.

Hell, Champ Bailey got burned three times by Torrey Smith. Two of them ended up as touchdowns, one was an overthrow by Flacco that would have been a touchdown if it wasn’t for the overthrow.

The defense got absolutely no pressure on Flacco which gave him all of the time that he needed to complete the three long touchdown passes. In fact, they got one sack on the day. It didn’t happen until overtime.

Having said that, when have you ever seen Peyton throw a pass like that?

Never.

It’s one thing when you have a guy like Brett Favre—the career interceptions leader and a guy notoriously known for taking unneeded risks—throw the game-costing interception in the ’09 NFC Championship versus the Saints, which was similar to Peyton’s throw versus the Ravens.

It’s Brett Favre for God’s sake. He does that in both the regular season and the postseason. Favre went through three straight seasons where the last pass he threw in each season was an interception (’07-’09, which ended his team’s playoff fortunes in each season).

But to have Peyton throw a pass that not even a rookie quarterback would make?

How can you explain that? How can you defend that?

There is simply no explaining it. You can’t defend it.

And so the Broncos enter the 2013 NFL offseason having wasted a bright regular season by choking on the biggest of stages—the NFL postseason.

It wasn’t a one-man loss. It wasn’t a two-man loss. It was an entire team’s loss.

I laid the criticism on Moore and Peyton. Even threw in Bailey and the defense in there. What about coach John Fox?

I was ready to criticize him for the 3rd-and-7 on Denver’s last offensive drive before Jacoby Jones scored on the game-tying touchdown, where the Broncos would end up running the football on a safe play with Ronnie Hillman before punting the football.

I mean why not give the potential NFL MVP a chance to win the game for you by throwing the football?

However, the icing on the cake was with 31 seconds left and two timeouts remaining. With the Broncos taking over at their 20-yard line, here was Peyton Manning—taking a knee to end regulation.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t the Ravens riding at an all-time high of emotions after Jones’ miraculous 70-yard touchdown run and catch? Was their confidence not at an all-time high after Flacco had completed three 30-plus-yard touchdown passes throughout the game?

Why even take the chance of heading into regulation when Baltimore’s offense had its way with Denver’s defense all throughout the game?

In a move that will be second-guessed until the day that John Fox and Peyton Manning lead the Broncos to a third Super Bowl title, Fox chose to run out the clock and take his chances in overtime.

Yet again, living up to his billing as a safe coach.

It backfired on the Broncos. Just like every move they made in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime.

What is there to say about this 38-35 double-overtime loss?

It is what it is.

The Broncos lost this game and can’t look at it any other way. If the Broncos want to win a Super Bowl in the Manning era, they need to not only play better, but use this game as a learning and motivational tool for championship success next season.

If the ’97 and ’98 Broncos can do it, I expect the ’13 Broncos to do the same.

If they can’t, Jan. 12, 2013, will be a date remembered by Broncos fans for a long time.

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For all of the wrong reasons.

 

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Broncos John Elway talks about the upcoming playoff game against the Ravens

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This week, Chris Hall of DenverBroncos.com discussed the Broncos’ upcoming playoff opener against Baltimore with Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway in the latest installment of Elway Access.

The Broncos finished the season on an 11-game winning streak for a 13-3 record and the No. 1 seed in the AFC going into the playoffs. It was a year that ranked among the best regular seasons in franchise history, but those accomplishments will mean little if they are not followed by a strong postseason run. The players’ incentive for all their hard work throughout the year boils down to what happens over the next few weeks.

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“Playoff football is exciting, that’s what you play for,” Elway said. “That’s what you start working out in March for and go through training camp to get in the position that we are right now.”

 

One of the biggest factors in the team’s success has been quarterback Peyton Manning’s record-setting regular season. With that portion of the year complete, Elway said that looking back, he’s been thrilled to see Manning perform so well after missing 2011 due to injury.

“No. 1, I’m happy for Peyton Manning, with the career that he’s had in the NFL and what he’s done for this game, for him to be able to bounce back like he has, I’m happy for him that he’s reached the level that he has again,” Elway said. “He’s pretty close to the Peyton of old. No. 2, I’m thrilled for us, the Broncos, the fact that he’s playing that well because we’re back in that No. 1 seed, back as one of the elite teams in this league. We’re able to go out and start the playoffs this week and compete for a Super Bowl championship. That’s why we play the game and why we work at this game.”

 

Denver is set for a rematch with the Ravens Saturday at 2:30 p.m. MST at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. In the first meeting of the season between the teams, the Broncos led 31-3 entering the fourth quarter and defeated Baltimore by a final score of 34-17. A key difference going into Saturday’s game is the health of the Ravens defense, which has welcomed back a trio of key contributors who were injured and inactive in Week 15.

Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning

“They’re a lot healthier now than they were when we played them,” Elway said. “(Linebacker) Ray Lewis was down, (Dannell) Ellerbe, their other inside linebacker, was down. So they were really banged up the last time we played them. They’re going to be at full strength, or close to full strength, this time.”

The return of those players has made one of Baltimore’s strengths throughout the season – the team’s red-zone defense – even more formidable. The Ravens’ playoff-opening win over Indianapolis in the Wild Card Round was highlighted by a bend-but-don’t-break defensive effort that yielded 25 first downs and 419 yards of total offense but only nine points.

“One thing that they are, and you noticed it last week also, was the fact that down in the red zone, they’re as good as anybody in the league,” Elway said. “I think they’re top 5, if not the best red-zone defense in the league. Last week they gave up three field goals to Indianapolis even though Indianapolis had the ball for 37 minutes. That’s why it’s going to be important for us to not only be good between the 20s, but when you get down in the red zone, we have to get it into the end zone.”

Another significant difference between Saturday’s game and the Week 15 matchup in Baltimore is the venue. Denver will have the advantage of playing in front of a home crowd that helped the Broncos win seven of their eight home games during the regular season.

“It will be great that we’re playing at Sports Authority Field at Mile High with the fans behind us,” Elway said. “It will bring back that great playoff atmosphere, which is great for the fans. We’ve played better at home. We did a better job this year, we’re 7-1 at home. We’re comfortable there and the fans have been great the whole year. But this is a different atmosphere and they’re going to be a big part of it, especially when (the Ravens are) on offense.”

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Woodyard’s skills and dedication make him a team leader

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Five years ago, linebacker Wesley Woodyard was fighting for a roster spot as an undrafted free agent out of Kentucky.

This season, he fought for a Pro Bowl berth as one of the AFC’s most productive linebackers. Through 15 games, Woodyard is one of just four AFC players with at least 100 tackles, a sack and an interception. He’s set career highs in almost every category this season, including his three interceptions and four sacks.

“I’m trying to continue to work on my craft and get better every day,” Woodyard said. “My teammates believe in me, and I’ve just been having fun out there this year. Not worrying about anything, just going out there and playing football.”

Wesley Woodyard is a team leader

Wesley Woodyard is a team leader

He’s already earned some hardware this season, taking home his first career AFC Defensive Player of the Week Award after becoming the first player in team history to post one sack, one interception and one forced fumble in the same game during Denver’s 34-14 win over the New Orleans Saints in Week 8.

As he’s gotten more time in the starting lineup, Woodyard’s confidence and comfort level have grown.

“Whenever we step on the field, we expect to win and we know we should win every game we play,” Woodyard said. “That confidence just seeps out of everybody’s pores in the game. You actually smell that confidence in the game. It’s not being overconfident, it’s just having fun and enjoying the game.”

While his season might have caught some people off guard, Woodyard’s teammates knew what he was capable if given an opportunity.

“It was only a matter of time,” cornerback and fellow team captain Champ Bailey said. “It’s all about opportunities. Most guys make the best of them and he’s one of them. I’m happy for him because I’ve seen how much he’s grinded away and worked up to this point.”

Linebacker Von Miller saw first-hand how hard Woodyard worked on the practice field and in their position’s meeting room.

“I’m not surprised at all,” Miller said. “Since I’ve been here, he’s been making big-time plays, doing big-time things, so for him to come out here and have the type of season that he’s having isn’t a surprise at all.”

UNDRAFTED UNDERDOG

In 2008, 253 players had their names called during the NFL draft, but Woodyard wasn’t one of them. Despite earning first-team All-SEC honors during his final two seasons at the University of Kentucky, where he led the conference with 10.6 tackles per game as a senior, Woodyard went undrafted.

He joined the Broncos as a free agent and immediately opened eyes with his work ethic and playmaking ability.

“I came in my rookie year and I just wanted to give them my all and have a shot to play the game that I love to play,” Woodyard said. “It was just exciting. It was a lot of hard work and determination. I just stuck by myself and believed in myself.”

He has played double-digit games in each of his five seasons, but still remembers where he started his career.

“I keep that chip on my shoulder,” Woodyard said. “I never take anything for granted. Always work hard and outwork whoever is out there beside you. It keeps me humble.”

After starting his rookie season as an undrafted free agent, he finished the year as a team captain. Woodyard has held that position ever since to become just the second Bronco in franchise history to serve as a captain in his first five seasons with the club, joining Hall-of-Fame running back Floyd Little with that distinction.

“I just lead by example,” Woodyard said. “I don’t like to talk a lot, I just like to go out there and do it the right way and do it the way I’ve been coached to do it. Do it the way my teammates depend on. That’s going out there and playing hard-nosed football until the end of the whistle every snap.”

Having climbed from the bottom of the depth chart to a starting role, Woodyard serves as a living example for the college free agents that join the team each summer fighting the odds for a spot on the roster.

“It gives me the opportunity to be on that same level and talk to them and tell them what they need to do and what they should do,” he said. “For the most part, they listen to me and they look up to me and they always seek out advice.”

In 2011, cornerback Chris Harris began the year as an undrafted free agent and has emerged as a starter this season.

Harris credits Woodyard’s leadership and example as a factor in his success.

“Just to always continue working,” Harris said about the advice he received from Woodyard. “Any time you see a guy go undrafted it definitely gives you a chance, knowing that you can come from the bottom and start in this league.”

COMMUNITY-DRIVEN CAPTAIN

Woodyard has taken that leadership beyond the playing field and into the community.

Named the Broncos’ recipient of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in each of the previous two seasons, Woodyard said he enjoys using his position as a football player to help people.

“I think that’s what it starts with,” Woodyard said. “It’s important that we give back to the community and help out the community that we’re in. I think that’s what our world is missing. We don’t reach out and we don’t help enough people. That’s something with my status of being a football player in the NFL, I take advantage of every opportunity that I can to help out.”

Woodyard even set up his own foundation, 16Ways, which works with at-risk youth. As a team captain, Woodyard has tried to impress upon the younger players the importance of taking the time to be active in community enrichment programs.

“I love seeing guys sign up for them,” Woodyard said about the team’s community events. “I used to be the first one to sign up, now it’s funny, when I come around the corner, now there’s 10 guys that have already signed up for an event. That’s always good. Now there are more rookies at every event than I’ve ever seen.”

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No. 1 Broncos earn home field advantage in the playoff

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The Broncos knew the No. 1 seed was on the line. And they were ready. The defense forced Kansas City into a three-and-out. The offense cut through the Chiefs’ defense like a lawn mower.

Knowshon Moreno finished off a 69-yard drive by running the ball in for the 7-0 lead. Ryan Succup hit a 22-yard field goal for KC and the Broncos answered with back-to-back touchdowns from Peyton Manning to Eric Decker.

Payton Manning sets up for a pass against Kansas City

Payton Manning sets up for a pass against Kansas City

 

 

In the second half, Manning connected with Demaryius Thomas in the back of the end zone for a miraculous touchdown catch, Lance Ball rushed one over the goal line and Matt Prater tacked on a field goal to blowout Kansas City 38-3 and win their 11th straight game.

Denver finished the season 13-3 and the No. 1 seed in the AFC, meaning the road to the Super Bowl goes through the Mile High City.

You could argue that the Chiefs, who have won only two games, weren’t trying too hard; they lost the game but won the right first pick in the draft due to their terrible season. No point in ruining that.

 

 

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