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Broncos 38, Chiefs 3

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning congratulates receiver Demaryius Thomas for his acrobatic touchdown in the third quarter.

Associated Press

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning congratulates receiver Demaryius Thomas for his acrobatic touchdown in the third quarter.

DENVER — Peyton Manning figured one one-handed catch deserved another.

So, up the ladder he went — throwing 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 and helped give the Broncos homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs after a 38-3 runaway over the Chiefs.

"They claim they can do that all the time," said Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, who saw replays of both catches about half a 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."

Manning, in search of a second Super Bowl title, was 23-for-29 for 304 yards, three scores and a 144.8 passer rating. He was out of the game by the fourth quarter — by which time one of his biggest competitors for the MVP award, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, was surpassing 2,000 yards rushing this season.

"I threw it okay today, I guess," said Manning, who finished with 4,659 yards, 37 touchdowns and a 105.8 rating, all second best in his 15-year career.

Thanks to Houston's loss at Indianapolis — Manning's home from 1998-2011 — Denver will be the top seed in the AFC. The Broncos last owned that distinction in 1998, when they won the last of consecutive Super Bowls.

The Chiefs gave the Broncos as tough a tussle as anyone during their 11-game winning streak — in a 17-9 loss last month — but put up little resistance this time and clinched the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft.

Kansas City finished a dreadful season, punctuated by the tragedy of Jovan Belcher's murder-suicide in which he killed his girlfriend and himself.

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Broncos 38, Chiefs 3 12/30/12 [Last modified: Sunday, December 30, 2012 11:23pm]

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