DENVER — Next up, New England.
A year after the Baltimore Ravens unceremoniously booted the Denver Broncos from the playoffs, Peyton Manning and company exorcised their postseason demons, dismissing the San Diego Chargers 24-17.
The Chargers were far from helpless, intercepting Manning in the end zone just before halftime and racking up a quick 10 points as part of a furious fourth-quarter rally. But Manning put on the brakes immediately after with a pair of clutch third-down completions to tight end Julius Thomas, keeping the ball safely in Bronco hands until time expired.
Next Sunday, the Broncos will host the AFC Championship game against the Patriots, the only team that’s managed to flat-out embarrass Denver all season.
But if this week’s game is any indication, the Broncos may well be on track to rewrite their own history.