The Denver Broncos are the first team to punch their ticket to this season's Super Bowl.
In a not-as-good-as-advertised meeting between the Broncos and Patriots, quarterback Peyton Manning tossed his team to a victory. He shredded the Patriots' defense for 400 yards and two touchdowns in a 26-16 victory.
The game wasn't even as close as the final score indicated. At the 12:02 mark in the fourth quarter, the Broncos led 23-3. Later in the fourth, the lead was 26-10.
The Broncos' offense got out to such a hot start that the Patriots' offense was unable to keep up with the running attack that had been successful in recent weeks.
Denver will play the winner of the NFC Championship, between San Francisco and Seattle, in two weeks.
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<p> Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.