Another Tom Brady-Peyton Manning match-up, with Super Bowl on line
DENVER — It will be Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning yet again. On the line this time: A trip to Super Bowl 50.
In Sunday’s Denver Broncos-Pittsburgh Steelers showdown, C.J. Anderson scored the go-ahead touchdown with three minutes left, and the Broncos completed a late comeback to defeat the Steelers 23-16 to advance to the AFC Championship Game.
Anderson’s 1-yard run was the only touchdown of the day for Denver (13-4), previously relying on four field goals from Brandon McManus. Denver’s kicker added a fifth with 53 seconds remaining to put the Broncos up by 10 and basically put the game out of reach.
Manning was 21 of 37 for 222 yards. Anderson had 72 yards on 15 carries.
The Broncos, who hold the top seed in the AFC, will host the New England Patriots (13-4) on January 24 at 3:05 p.m. ET. The winner advances to Super Bowl 50.
It will be the 17th time that Manning and Brady will square off. Brady leads the series 11-5; they’re tied 2-2 in the playoffs. But this could be the last time we see the two QBs go up against each other.
In what has been a tumultuous year for the sure-to-be Hall of Famer, Manning, who turns 40 in March, hasn’t revealed his future plans, but there has been wide speculation that this season could be his last.
Manning’s health and durability have been concerns. He missed six games this season with a partially torn plantar fascia in his left heel.
And Manning was forced to go on the defensive in December, vehemently denying a claim in an Al Jazeera documentary alleging that he was among a number of professional athletes who may have been provided human growth hormone, or HGH, by an Indiana doctor.
Manning wasn’t the only quarterback dealing with injuries. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, has dealt with his own as well. He played Sunday with torn ligaments in a separated shoulder, and he missed multiple practices in the week leading up to this game because he couldn’t throw.
But it was hard to see any ill effects while Roethlisberger was on the field Sunday, throwing for 24 of 37 for 339 yards.
Denver led early thanks to the first two field goals by McManus, but the Steelers (11-6) took the lead back with their lone touchdown, a 1-yard run by Fitzgerald Toussaint in the first quarter to make it 7-6. Both teams then were limited to field goals until Anderson’s score with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.