Manning to start for Broncos in playoffs opener

Thu Jan 7, 2016 3:23pm EST
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(Reuters) - Quarterback Peyton Manning, who energized the Broncos when he came off the bench in their regular season finale on Sunday, has been told by head coach Gary Kubiak that he will start for Denver in their first playoff game next week.

Kubiak met with Manning and the previous starter, Brock Osweiler, on Thursday before informing all the players about his decision, the Broncos announced on their website.

Brought on in place of Osweiler with Denver trailing 13-7 on Sunday, Manning rallied his team to a victory that clinched the AFC West title and the number one seeding in the playoffs.

The Broncos finished with 139 yards rushing while Manning was in the game, and the veteran quarterback, a 14-time Pro Bowl selection and five-time NFL MVP, completed five-of-nine passes for 69 yards.

Osweiler, who went 5-2 for Denver as a starter, finished with 14-for-22 for 232 yards passing against San Diego but paid the price after his offense turned the ball over five times in its first nine possessions.

Kubiak said he decided to go with Manning after the Broncos were set back by their fifth turnover during the third quarter.

"Just my gut told me to turn it over to him," Kubiak told reporters. "I'm just very proud of him. He's worked really hard to stay there for us."

The Broncos will start their postseason when they host a divisional-round playoff game on Jan. 17 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans or Kansas City Chiefs.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning 
Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports