published Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Manning, Broncos beat Chargers 24-17

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) calls an audible at the line of scrimmage against the San Diego Chargers in their NFL AFC division playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, in Denver.
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) calls an audible at the line of scrimmage against the San Diego Chargers in their NFL AFC division playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, in Denver.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

DENVER — Peyton Manning welcomed Wes Welker back into the lineup with a touchdown toss and the Denver Broncos narrowly avoided a repeat of their playoff slip from last year, advancing to the AFC championship game with a 24-17 win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

The Broncos (14-3) controlled the game for 3½ quarters before Philip Rivers capitalized on an injury to cornerback Chris Harris Jr. to stage a comeback reminiscent of Baltimore's shocking win at Denver exactly a year earlier.

This time, however, Manning rescued the Broncos from the brink of another crushing collapse and sent them into the title game for the first time in eight seasons.

They'll host the New England Patriots (13-4) on Sunday. Get ready for Brady vs. Manning once more.

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