Peyton Manning: Tom Brady 'outstanding' but AFC Championship between 'two good teams'

Doug Pensinger

At Sunday's postgame press conference, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning spoke on the team's win over the San Diego Chargers and the AFC Championship game against Tom Brady and the Patriots.

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The Denver Broncos are headed to the AFC Championship for a matchup against the New England Patriots. Denver bested the San Diego Chargers, 24-17, on Sunday to seal their spot. They'll host the Patriots as the No. 1 seed, and as usual, quarterback Peyton Manning and head coach John Fox took to the podium for a press conference following the game.

Manning gave credit to the play-calling and said that the team worked hard for the win -- and that he plans to take some time to enjoy it.

"We'll enjoy this one," Manning said. "You're supposed to enjoy these wins. They're hard to come by."

That was a bit before he said that he couldn't wait to "get a Bud Light in my mouth," if you were interested in how Manning plans to enjoy said win.

Fox echoed the sentiments -- about enjoying the win, not the Bud Light: "I think I'm just going to enjoy this first, it hasn't sunk in yet," he said. "We'll enjoy today for what it is."

One point of focus for the Broncos was to play well on first down. Manning said that the team didn't do that well the last time these two teams played -- a win for San Diego -- but that the Broncos were able to convert on third down due to their success on first down.

Denver had 26 first downs in the game, going a whopping 9-for-13 on third-down conversions. That was much better than the Chargers, who only mustered four third-down conversions out of 12 attempts. San Diego had 13 first downs altogether.

"You kind of adjust to your football team as you go, our guys proved to be pretty efficient and we knew it was going to be a big part of the game tonight, our third-down conversions both ways," Fox said. "First- and second-down run attempts -- I thought our offense ran the ball a lot better."

Also of note: Manning was asked about playing Tom Brady and the potential rivalry there. Manning has faced Brady 14 times since 2001 and Brady has the edge with 10 wins in the head-to-head. Manning didn't take the bait, though.

"Tom Brady has just been an outstanding quarterback ... but the game next week is the Broncos and the Patriots," he said. "It will be a battle between two good teams -- teams that have been through a lot, have overcome a lot to get to this point and that's where my focus will be: trying to help the Broncos get a win against the Patriots."

The Broncos will take on the Patriots on Sunday, Jan. 19 at 3 p.m. ET.

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