The West

Manning sends Broncos to Super Bowl
New England's Tom Brady, left, congratulates Peyton Manning. Pic: Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers 23-17 to book a berth against the Denver Broncos in next month’s Super Bowl 48.

Seattle’s Malcolm Smith intercepted a Colin Kaepernick pass in the end zone with 22 seconds remaining to halt a potential game-winning drive for the 49ers and send the Seahawks to the National Football League’s February 2 championship spectacle in suburban New York.

The NFL championship spectacle at East Rutherford, New Jersey, will be the first in Super Bowl history staged outdoors in a cold-climate city.

The weather forecast is for the coldest conditions in Super Bowl history with a chance of rain or show showers and temperatures between 2.7 to -3.8C.

Seattle will face the Broncos, after Peyton Manning threw two touchdown passes to book their spot with a 26-16 win over the New England Patriots.

Manning completed 32-of-43 passes for 400 yards to spark the Broncos into the National Football League’s title game for the first time since back-to-back wins in 1998 and 1999.

Denver will face the winner of Sunday’s later playoff game between Seattle and San Francisco in Super Bowl 48 on February 2 in suburban New York.

Manning, who set new one-season NFL passing yardage and touchdown records for the highest-scoring team in league history this season, evened his record in playoff games against New England rival Tom Brady to 2-2.

Matt Prater kicked a 27-yard field goal in the first quarter to put Denver ahead and the Broncos increased their edge when Manning flipped a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Tamme to cap a 93-yard, 15-play march.

Knowshown Moreno ran four times for 42 yards on the seven-minute drive that gave Denver a 10-0 edge.

The Patriots, in their first road playoff game since 2007, responded with a 47-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski but Prater answered with another for Denver from 35 yards to put the Broncos ahead 13-3 at half-time.

Manning began the third quarter by leading the Broncos on their longest scoring drive of the campaign, a 7:08 march that went 80 yards in 13 plays and ended with Manning’s 3-yard touchdown pass to DeMaryius Thomas.

Outside linebacker Malcolm Smith #53 and defensive back DeShawn Shead #35 celebrate after Smith intercepts a pass in the endzone to win the game for the Seahawks against the San Francisco 49ers. Pic: Getty Images

Brady, who rallied the Patriots from a 24-0 deficit to defeat Denver in the regular season for the greatest comeback of his career, struggled most of the day against Denver’s defenders.

He was sacked for a 10-yard loss by Terrance Knighton on a fourth-down play to end the Patriots’ first possession of the second half at the Denver 39-yard line, continuing Brady’s frustration against Denver defenders.

The ball went back to the Broncos and Manning marched the hosts downfield for a 19-yard Prater field goal and a 23-3 lead with 12:02 to play.

New England pulled within 13 points on Brady’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman with 9:26 remaining, but Prater’s fourth field goal, from 54 yards, stretched Denver’s lead to 26-10 with seven minutes remaining.

Brady directed the Patriots 80 yards in 10 plays and scored on a 5-yard run, but Denver’s defence stopped Shane Vereen’s 2-point conversion run attempt and New England trailed 26-16 with 3:07 remaining.

The Broncos took the ensuing kickoff and ran the final seconds off the clock for the triumph.

The West Australian

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