NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - In his second full game back from injury, Peyton Manning's final stat line of 21-of-37 for 222 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions was far from impressive, but it was effective enough.
With the Broncos trailing 13-12 in the fourth quarter, their defense came up with a fumble and the offense responded with a 13-play, 65-yard drive ending with a touchdown and 2-point conversion that would put the home team ahead for good. Manning completed just two passes on the drive but one was a 31-yard completion on 3rd-and-12.
After the game, he acknowledged the slow-developing game plan. "It was tough all night, they're a good defense that's been playing well the last couple weeks, not giving up many points, real credit for them," Manning said. "We had some good field position early and had to settle for field goals, I give them credit for that. Field goals are better than no points but we knew eventually we'd need to get a touchdown drive. Defense got the big turnover late and finally we were able to put a drive together, get down there and get a touchdown."
The Broncos will host the Patriots for the AFC Championship next Sunday at 2:00 p.m. central, followed by the Cardinals traveling to Carolina at 5:40 PM. The NFC Championship game can be seen on FOX 8.