Only two remain the AFC playoff race.
Quarterback Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts defeated Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, 24-13, at Sports Authority Field Saturday afternoon, as Luck went 27-of-43 passing for 265 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, while the Colts’ defense held Manning to 26-of-46 passing for 211 yards and one touchdown.
After getting out to a 21-10 lead over the first three quarters, the two sides exchanged field goals in the fourth quarter. Yet an eight-minute drive earned the Colts an 11-point lead with only four minutes remaining. And the Broncos were unable to answer back, after a turnover on downs parlayed into a turnover on time at Mile High.
As a result, the fourth-seeded Colts will look to answer against the top-seeded New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game next Sunday.
The 6:40 p.m. kickoff at Gillette Stadium will mark a rematch between Indianapolis and New England.
A 42-20 Patriots victory at Lucas Oil Stadium in Week 11 saw Patriots halfback Jonas Gray rush for 201 yards and a franchise-tying four touchdowns over 37 attempts. Though after being inactive for the Patriots’ 35-31 win over the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round on Saturday, it remains uncertain just how many attempts Gray will garner in the second meeting versus the Colts this season.
What is certain is that next Sunday will signify New England’s second encounter with Indianapolis for the conference title.
The Patriots beat Manning and the Colts, 24-14, at Gillette Stadium in January of 2004, in a game that sent New England on to Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston versus the Carolina Panthers.