Broncos Clinch Playoff Berth


Dec 8, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater (5) celebrates with teammates after kicking a 64 yard field goal at the end of the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos clinched a playoff birth with the 51-28 win over the Tennessee Titans Sunday afternoon, improving to 11-2 on the season. Peyton Manning silenced critics for now after stating the veteran quarterback couldn’t win in the cold. It was a blistering 15 degrees at halftime when the Broncos trailed the Tennessee Titans, 21-20. Manning would rally his team with 24-unanswered points to overcome the deficit, leading the Denver Broncos to victory.

The Titans struck first on an impressive 5-play, 73-yard drive capped by a Shonn Greene 1-yard touchdown, but Manning and crew would respond. Manning would connect with slot-receiver Wes Welker for a one-yard pass, tying the game at seven. Titans kick-returner Leon Washington would return a kick 95-yards on the ensuing kick-off, leading to a Chris Johnson three-yard scamper for the touchdown. Broncos kicker Matt Prater would cap a 9-play, 51-yard drive with a 25-yard field goal to bring the lead to within four.

The Titans kept on rolling, as the Denver Broncos defensive struggles would continue; the Broncos were without key starters Champ Bailey, Derek Wolfe, Kevin Vickerson, Wesley Woodyard, and Rahim MooreShonn Greene would add another touchdown, this time a 28-yard run, putting the Titans up 21-10, shocking the fans at Sports Authority Field.

Peyton Manning would lead Denver down the field for 81-yards, as he found Julius Thomas on an 8-yard pass and catch, as they drained 5:08 minutes on the clock. Congratulations to Broncos kicker Matt Prater as he set the new record for the longest field goal in National Football League history, knocking it down from 64-yards. The Titans however, would take the lead into the half, 21-20. But Praters kick gave Denver the momentum heading into the second half.

It would be all Denver Broncos from there on out, as the Broncos scored on two-straight drives, one by Demaryius Thomas, and the other by running back Knowshon Moreno. Tennessee would manage to score on a 6-play, 80 yard drive as Ryan Fitzpatrick found rookie Justin Hunter on a 41-yard pass, bringing the Denver lead down to six.

The Broncos owned the fourth quarter as the Broncos would score 17-unanswered. Matt Prater would knock down another field goal, this time from 19-yards out. While wide-out Eric Decker would be found by Manning on a 20-yard pass. Decker was Denver’s leading receiver on the afternoon, catching 8 passes for over 117 yards. Montee Ball would score the last touchdown of the game on a 5-yard run, giving the Broncos the 51-28 lead as the score would remain to be final.

Peyton Manning performed well in the sub-20 degree temperatures Sunday afternoon at Sports Authority Field, going 39-of-59 for 397 yards and four touchdowns. The performance will silence critics for now, but will remain a topic of conversation until Denver wins the big one. Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball continued to provide the already dangerous Broncos offense with a running game. They both would combine for 29 carries, rushing for 155 yards and two touchdowns.

What’s Up Next: 

Denver (11-2) is in sole possession of the one-seed and their division lead, as they take on the division rival San Diego Chargers on Thursday Night Football. Kick-off is scheduled for 8:25 PM ET, 6:25 PM MT.