A few Broncos-related notes from Sunday's Pro Bowl, won 32-28 by Michael Irvin's squad:
Seattle will defend its SB title after shocking Green Bay in a wild 28-22 overtime victory. The Seahawks trailed 16-0 at halftime and 19-7 late into the fourth quarter, but scored two late touchdowns and another in the extra session to punch their ticket to Glendale.
Russell Wilson was intercepted four times and struggled for most of the day, but rushed for a one-yard score and ended the game with consecutive 35-yard completions, including a picture-perfect touchdown to Jermaine Kearse.
As he had for the prior two months, Peyton Manning looked like a shell of his recent and former self, missing long passes all day long. He did throw one touchdown pass, but his Indy predecessor, Andrew Luck, threw two, and the Colts have earned a trip to Foxboro to take on the Patriots in the AFC title game.
Questions will swirl about Manning's future, and that of John Fox.
The victory clinches a first-round bye for the Broncos; on Sunday, January 11, at 4:40pm, they'll host the highest seeded remaining team among Cincy, Pittsburgh, and Indy in the divisional round. Tickets for the game will go on sale at 3pm Broncos Time on Monday.
As with Anderson's other three-score game, three weeks earlier against Buffalo, Peyton Manning was held without a touchdown pass.
Peyton Manning threw four interceptions, including a late pick-six, as Denver fell 37-28 (Game Book) at Cincinnati on Monday night, clinching the #1 seed for New England in the process. With the loss, Denver must now either beat Oakland next Sunday or have Pittsburgh knock off Cincy in the night game if they're to lock up the #2 seed and a first-round bye.
In a worst case scenario, a Denver loss and Cincy win would give the Bengals the #2 seed, dropping the Broncos into the #3 seed and force them to host a Wild Card game for the first time since the 2011 playoffs.
Peyton Manning overcame flu-like symptoms and a thigh injury to complete 14 of 20 passes for the second straight week, among them a touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas (six catches, 123 yards).
Connor Barth was flawless on five field goal attempts for the second time in his three games with Denver, and C.J. Anderson fought his way for 96 yards on 31 touches. Aqib Talib and Rahim Moore helped seal the win with fourth quarter interceptions of Philip Rivers.
C.J. Anderson scored three rushing touchdowns for Denver, while Peyton Manning and Kyle Orton each threw two ugly interceptions.
If you care about this sort of thing, Manning's streak of games with at least one touchdown pass ended at 51, one shy of Tom Brady and three short of Drew Brees's all-time record. His 20 attempts were by far the fewest he's posted as a Bronco; he'd attempted as few as 26 passes three times with Denver.
Denver matched New England for the best record in the AFC and remained a game ahead of San Diego in the AFCW.
Along with the Broncos and Pats, NFC division leaders Philly, Green Bay, and Arizona are also 9-3.
Peyton Manning threw four touchdown passes, including three to Demaryius Thomas.
Despite that gaudiness, C.J. Anderson and Emmanuel Sanders were Denver's biggest stars of the day, amassing a whopping 323 yards from scrimmage.
Oakland (1-10) pulled off the shocker on Thursday night, knocking off the rival first-place Chiefs (7-4) in a 24-20 victory.
The win broke a 16-game losing streak for the Raiders; their last win came November 17, 2013, and that was against a Texans team amidst their own 14-game losing streak.
Derek Carr led Oakland on a late 80-yard scoring drive, throwing a game-winning nine-yard touchdown pass to James Jones inside the two-minute warning.