Manning rises from bench to set up possible Super Bowl run

Mon Jan 4, 2016 8:57pm EST
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - Peyton Manning rode the bench before riding to the rescue for the Denver Broncos on Sunday in what might set up an enthralling run to the Super Bowl in the twilight of the quarterback's extraordinary career.

Manning has battled through injuries, a diminishment of his already marginal ability to move, and a loss of throwing power that had some NFL observers wondering if the Broncos might be better off playing back-up quarterback Brock Osweiler.

Before his reappearance against the San Diego Chargers, Manning had thrown 17 interceptions and nine touchdown passes.

Now some of the same critics are saying the five-time NFL MVP might be just the quarterback to lead the AFC's top-seeded team to Super Bowl 50.

Denver coach Gary Kubiak would not commit on who would be the starting quarterback when the Broncos join the playoffs in the divisional round.

"Yesterday it took both of them," Kubiak told reporters on Monday. "It's taken all of us all year long.

"I'm just very proud of both of them after the job they've done."

After being sidelined for seven weeks because of a foot injury, the 14-time Pro Bowler found himself elevated to backup for the regular season-finale.   Continued...

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) drops back to pass the football in the fourth quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Chargers 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports