Broncos Earn Top Seed in AFC; Giants Fail to Qualify
Byline: Associated Press
Peyton Manning figured one one-handed catch deserved another.
So, up the ladder he went -- throwing the ball high in the back of the end zone to Demaryius Thomas.
Thomas leaped and brought it down with his right hand, then got both feet down inside the line for a touchdown. With that, he joined Eric Decker in Denver's one-handed-touchdown club Sunday and gave the Broncos some otherworldly highlights to go with their home-field advantage throughout the playoffs after a 38-3 runaway over the Kansas City Chiefs.
"They claim they can do that all the time," said cornerback Champ Bailey, who got to watch the replays of both catches about a half-dozen times on the scoreboard. "They say they practice that. I don't see it. But as long as they do it on Sunday, I'm all for it. Those are some great, hard-working boys and I expect nothing less."
Manning, in search of his fifth MVP award and, yes, a second Super Bowl title, finished 23-for-29 for 304 yards, 3 scores and a 144.8 passer rating. One of his main competitors for the award, Adrian Peterson of the Vikings, ran for 199 yards in a 37-34 win over Green Bay that secured a playoff berth.
"I threw it OK today, I guess," said Manning, who finished the season with 4,659 yards, 37 touchdowns and a 105.8 passer rating, all second best in his 15-year career.
Thanks to Houston's 28-16 loss to Indianapolis before the Broncos kicked off, Denver (13-3) will be the top seed for the sixth time. The Broncos made the Super Bowl four of the previous five times.
Giants 42, Eagles 7:
There will be no Super Bowl repeat for the Giants. Not even a playoff berth despite Eli Manning's career-high 5 touchdown passes. The host Giants (9-7) playoff hopes ended minutes after routing the Eagles. The Bears' win over Detroit ended New York's long-shot playoff chances.
Eagles coach Andy Reid is out after 14 years at Philadelphia, three people familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The official announcement could come today.
Colts 28, Texans 16:
Host Indianapolis made Chuck Pagano a winner in his return to the sideline.
Andrew Luck threw for 2 touchdowns and Deji Karim swung the game with a 101-yard kickoff return in the third quarter, giving the Colts a victory over Houston. It was Pagano's first game back as coach since starting treatment for leukemia Sept. 26.
Indianapolis (11-5) heads into the playoffs as the No. 5 seed and on a roll.
Niners 27, Cardinals 13:
Michael Crabtree caught touchdown passes of 49 and 7 yards as host San Francisco won a second straight NFC West title. …