Chargers vs. Broncos final score: Denver defense shuts down San Diego, advances to AFC Championship with 24-17 win

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Denver's defense accentuated a well-prepared and audible-heavy Peyton Manning and Denver's offensive performance in a 24-17 win over San Diego. The Broncos advance to their first conference championship game since the 2005 season.

Chances are good the San Diego Chargers defensive linemen will be hearing "OMAHA!" yelled in their sleep tonight.

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning checked out, audibled and shifted his offense to his heart's content, rarely feeling pressure as he commanded a solid, if not outstanding, offensive performance from Denver.

The exact opposite can be said for Chargers QB Phillip Rivers, who struggled adjusting to a stiff wind at SportsAuthority Stadium at Mile High, as well as the orange jersey-wearing defensive playres, who wanted to show this team wasn't completely one dimensional.

The Broncos' defense shut San Diego out through nearly three quarters of play until rookie wide receiver (and Rookie of the Year candidate) Keenan Allen torched both Quentin Jammer and Michael Huff on separate touchdown catches, pulling the Chargers within 24-14 with less than six minutes remaining.

San Diego recovered an onside kick that led to a 30-yard field goal from Nick Novak, bringing the score to 24-17 with less than four minutes remaining.

Manning choked the clock out from that point, hitting WR DeMaryius Thomas on two straight third downs, burning San Diego's timeouts and eventually kneeling out for the win. It was Denver's second win in three tries over San Diego this season, and advanced Denver to its first AFC Championship game since 2005.

The Broncos will host the New England Patriots Sunday in the AFC Championship game.

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