Broncos defeat Patriots to reach Superbowl

10:19 AM, Jan 20, 2014   |    comments
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DENVER, Colorado (AP) -- The Denver Broncos are AFC champions for the first time since the 1998 season. Peyton Manning was on target all afternoon while the Broncos shut down New England's offense in a 26-16 victory at Denver.

Manning was 32 of 43 for 400 yards, two short touchdowns and no interceptions to improve to 2-2 lifetime versus Tom Brady and the Pats in the postseason. Manning's three-yard TD pass to Demaryius (deh-MAR'-ee-uhs) Thomas put Denver ahead 20-3 with 7:52 left in the third quarter. The Broncos owned a 20-point lead once Matt Prater hit a 19-yard field goal early in the final period.

The Broncos had to settle for four Prater field goals, but the drives allowed them to control the ball for almost 36 minutes and keep Brady off the field. Brady finished with 277 passing yards, much of it coming after the Patriots fell behind 23-3.

Brady threw a touchdown pass to Julian Edelman in the fourth quarter and ran for a five-yard score with 3:07 to play. But the Broncos all-but clinched the victory by stopping the ensuing two-point conversion attempt before running out the clock.

The Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers have entered the second half in the NFC title game in Seattle. The 49ers led 10-3 at halftime of a game that was chippy from the opening kickoff.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson fumbled the first play from scrimmage to set up Phil Dawson's 25-yard field goal. The 49ers made it 10-0 in the second quarter after Colin Kaepernick (KAP'-ur-nik) scrambled 58 yards to set up Anthony Dixon's one-yard TD on fourth and goal.

Steven Hauschka (HOWSH'-kah) hit a 32-yard field goal on the next drive to get the Seahawks within seven points.

Kaepernick was just 3-for-5 for 17 yards by intermission, but he also had 98 yards on eight carries.

Wilson completed eight of his 12 passes for 112 yards for the Seahawks, who had just 126 yards of total offense in the first half.

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