January 15

NFL PLAYOFFS: Manning very good at 2nd chances

Broncos QB hasn’t lost rematch to team that beat him earlier in season in 6 years

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Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) throws during practice for the football team's NFL playoff game against the San Diego Chargers at the Broncos training facility in Englewood, Colo., on Friday, Jan. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

But this season, he broke Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe’s team record for tight ends by catching 12 TD passes and it was his emergence that freed up Manning’s other targets – Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker, along with running back Knowshon Moreno – who all joined him with 10 or more touchdowns.

Thomas, who didn’t play in the first matchup against the Patriots because of a knee injury, finished with six catches for 76 yards Sunday, but none was longer – or bigger – than his 21-yarder.

“Third-and-17 was the play of the game,” Elway said. “We had to pick it up, keep the chains moving, keep them off the field and not give them a chance and so that’s where it was tremendous. The offensive line did a great job of protecting Peyton, Julius Thomas made a great catch dragging his feet on the sideline.

“But who knows where the game goes if we don’t make that play? Those are the types of plays you have to make in playoff football to be able to advance.”

And make the most of second chances.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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