Burnt orange: Broncos shocked by Colts, 24-13, get bounced from playoffs

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DENVER -- There was no Mile High Magic and there will be no return trip to the Super Bowl for the Broncos.

For the second time in three years, the Broncos were stunned at home in an AFC Divisional playoff game after having a bye week as the Indianapolis Colts came into Sports Authority Field and came away with a 24-13 victory Sunday to advance to the AFC Championship Game.

Two years ago, the Broncos fell to the Baltimore Ravens, 38-35, in double overtime at home in the divisional round after having a bye. Last year, they advanced to Super Bowl XLVIII with two home playoff wins but were blown out by the Seattle Seahawks, 43-8.

The Broncos jumped to a 7-0 lead after their first possession on a Peyton Manning touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas, but the offense went doormat after that and their season  ended in humiliating fashion at home -- again.

"If you get in the playoffs ... there's only one team that's going to leave happy," Manning said. "It's disappointing."

Meanwhile, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was not pressured much all game as he threw two touchdown passes to lead the Colts past Manning, their former quarterback.

"I think we're playing good team ball," Luck said. "We're feeding off each other. Offensively we're making enough plays to put some points on the board. Great night. So proud to be a part of the Colts in this victory."

Manning had his second one-and-done playoff exit with the Broncos and the ninth of his career -- and his performance Sunday and in the last half of the season will raise questions about his playing future as well as that of coach John Fox. Manning is 38-10 in the regular season with the Broncos but 2-3 in the postseason.

Peyton Manning’s playoff record

Peyton Manning is 11-13 in the postseason. How it breaks down.

Postseason trips: 14

Home: 8-6 (2-2 with Broncos)

Road: 2-5 (0-0 with Broncos)

Neutral site: 1-2 (0-1 with Broncos)

After a bye: 2-5 (1-2 with Broncos)

Wild card round: 3-4

Divisional round: 4-6 (1-2 with Broncos)

AFC Championship Game: 3-1 (1-0 with Broncos)

Super Bowl: 1-2

One-and-done appearances: 9 (1999, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014)

Times winning playoff games in consecutive seasons: 1 (2003-2004)

On the postgame show on the Broncos' flagship radio station KOA, Manning told Dave Logan: "I'll have to take some time and see how things play out, see how I feel physically. I think we'll have to see on that."

Asked at his postgame news conference if he could say "I'm coming back," Manning said he was more focused on the loss than next season.

"I can't give a simple answer without processing it," he said. "I can't say that. I could not say that."

Manning was an abysmal 26-of-46 for 211 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, and he and the receivers could never find any rhythm after the first drive. Manning threw just three touchdowns with six interceptions in December.

After the Super Bowl debacle, Broncos general manager John Elway bolstered the team's defense and running game, signing Aqib Talib, DeMarcus Ware and T.J. Ward.

But all three were MIA on Sunday against the Colts as Luck completed 27-of-43 passes for 265 yards, two touchdowns and two meaningless interceptions.

Daniel Herron's 6-yard touchdown run tied the game, 7-7, early in the second quarter, then linebacker Jerrell Freeman recovered a fumble after Jonathan Newsome's sack-strip of Manning at the Broncos 41.

Luck then connected with Dwayne Allen on a 3-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-7 -- and the Colts never trailed again.

Broncos Home Playoff Losses

The Broncos suffered only their fifth loss at home in the playoffs. The Broncos are now 15-5 all time at home in the postseason.

Jan. 11, 2014: Indianapolis Colts 24, Broncos 13 (Divisional round)

Jan. 12, 2012: Baltimore Ravens 38, Broncos 35, 2OT (Divisional round)

Jan. 22, 2006: Pittsburgh Steelers 34, Broncos 17 (AFC Championship Game)

Jan. 4, 1997: Jacksonville Jaguars 30, Broncos 27 (Divisional round)

Dec. 30, 1984: Pittsburgh Steelers 24, Broncos 17 (Divisional round)

The Colts took a 21-10 lead in the third quarter on an 11-play, 72-yard drive, with Luck hitting Hakeem Nicks on a a 15-yard touchdown pass.

The Broncos kept a drive alive on fourth-and-1 from the Colts 36 when C.J. Anderson broke free from three tacklers and gained 7 yards. But again, the offense bogged down and Connor Barth's 41-yard field goal made it 21-13 with 13:50 to play.

But the Broncos couldn't get to Luck, who engineered a 13-play, 54-yard drive that chewed up more than 8 minutes off the game clock that was capped by an Adam Vinatieri 30-yard field goal to make it a two-possession game with just more than 4 minutes remaining, all but ending the Broncos' hopes.

"Didn't play well enough today and didn't play well enough consistently in the second half of the season, especially in the games we lost," Manning said.

 

11 comments

    • Anonymous

      What goes around, comes around. Elway kicked Tim under the bus, anxious to get rid of him afraid Tim would become more popular. Elway thought he’d get the best & Peyton would take them to the Superbowl. Can anyone say “Karma”?

  • Chad

    You know Manning had a bad second half. Tonight everyone played awful. It was a team loss. Time for Fox to go and hire Gase as the head coach. I can’t believe people still talk about Tebow. Manning gave us three great years. We were able to see one of the greatest at his position. If Manning wants to return I will be happy, if not thank you for choosing Denver! Broncos fans need to stop being so stupid, Tebow wouldn’t of even come close to what Manning has done. Manning rejuvenated this franchise. He is going to make the decision he feels is best. If he thinks he can play he will if not he’s going to retire. Very disappointing game. I am interested to see what happens this off season. I remember when everyone said G. Karl needed to go, and now Nuggets fans complain cause they can’t win. If Manning comes back this team still wins 10 plus games next year. We will see what happens.

  • Anonymous

    get your facts right fox 31…. it was 211 yards passings not 111…. wouldn’t have made a difference though… but for a news agency come on… fox31, you are a joke

    • Mr. Mister

      Your comment is joke. The lack of punctuation combined with poor grammar implies that you are an individual of low intelligence. Perhaps you should start your own news outlet. I’m sure you would succeed easily, seeing how brilliant you are.

  • Snack Master Flash

    Should have started Lurch Dillweed (Osweiler) instead of the old Frankenstein neck choke artist. Maybe Peyton can choke on some pepperoni in his next papa johns commercial to add a bit of realism.

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