MCMANUS IS COOL UN­DER PRES­SURE

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

Bron­cos kicker Bran­don McManus played for Tem­ple in Philadel­phia, known for mas­sive snow­storms. He had never kicked in con­di­tions like Sun­day’s.

“It was the worst wind that I have had in my ca­reer at any level,” McManus said. “In warmups there was zero wind. Then I come back out five min­utes be­fore the game and it’s howl­ing 30 mph wind. I had to learn quickly what it was go­ing to do.”

McManus said Thurs­day’s prac­tice in ad­verse con­di­tions ac­cel­er­ated his ad­just­ment. McManus on Sun­day set a Bron­cos post­sea­son record and tied the NFL post­sea­son mark with five field goals. His 51-yarder tied Ja­son Elam (Su­per Bowl XXXII against Green Bay on Jan. 25, 1998) for the se­cond-long­est in Bron­cos post­sea­son his­tory. He then iced the game with a 45yarder that was un­ex­pected.

“There was a lot of con­fu­sion. We were told we were punt­ing, but that last gain put it in po­si­tion, so we ran out there. We were scram­bling,” McManus said. “But we did it. It was so rushed, there was no time to think about it.”

Wade’s world.

Bron­cos de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Wade Phillips can take a hit. Steel­ers wide re­ceiver Mar­tavis Bryant smashed into Phillips when pushed out of bounds, leav­ing Phillips on his back in the se­cond quar­ter. Af­ter a brief ex­am­i­na­tion by the train­ers, Phillips re­turned to work.

“I wanted to get up and re­tal­i­ate, but I didn’t want to pay the $10,000 fine,” Phillips joked. “I am sure I will be sore.”

Jack­son next?

The Bron­cos on Fri­day crossed off an im­por­tant free agent by se­cur­ing de­fen­sive end Derek Wolfe on a four-year, $36.75 mil­lion con­tract with $17.5 mil­lion guar­an­teed. What does that mean for Bron­cos de­fen­sive end Malik Jack­son? He has placed him­self in the $10 mil­lion­per-sea­son range with a break­out year. The Bron­cos have made him a pri­or­ity, but keep­ing the for­mer fifth-round pick will prove chal­leng­ing.

Pass­ing off.

The Bron­cos en­tered the game healthy, but with lin­ger­ing is­sues. As linebacker Bran­don Mar­shall re­cov­ers from an an­kle sprain, in­side linebacker Danny Tre­vathan played more in cov­er­age. Mar­shall ranks among the league’s top lineback­ers on pass­ing downs, how­ever, he is only three weeks re­moved from his in­jury against the Ben­gals. For Mar­shall, Sun­day’s vic­tory rep­re­sented re­demp­tion. He was lim­ited in last sea­son’s play­off loss be­cause of a foot in­jury.

“This is why you play. This is what we have worked for,” Mar­shall said.

Com­mish in at­ten­dance.

NFL com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell vis­ited long­time Bron­cos owner Pat Bowlen at his home in the morn­ing be­fore at­tend­ing the game.

Short-lived re­turn.

In his first game since suf­fer­ing a ham­string in­jury Dec. 6, Omar Bolden re­turned the first punt 42 yards to set up Den­ver’s open­ing field goal. But he hurt his knee on a Den­ver punt later in the first quar­ter and did not re­turn. Bolden said af­ter the game he suf­fered a non­con­tact lig­a­ment knee in­jury. Doc­tors told him it was loose and he’s sched­uled for an magnetic res­o­nance imag­ing test Mon­day. He said it didn’t look good, but he is hop­ing that the test re­sults are good.

Spe­cial-teams ace.

Re­serve cor­ner­back Kayvon Web­ster made a day out of his spe­cial­teams play. First, an ath­letic save to knock a Bron­cos punt back in play saved a touch­back. The ball ended up on the Steel­ers’ 3-yard line. Web­ster fol­lowed it up with two hard hits on punt re­turner Markus Wheaton as he touched the ball. The se­cond con­trib­uted to a muffed punt.

Foot­notes.

Quar­ter­back Pey­ton Man­ning (of­fense), out­side linebacker Von Miller (de­fense) and in­side linebacker Todd Davis (spe­cial teams) were se­lected as the Bron­cos’ game-day cap­tains. ... 76,956 tick­ets were pur­chased for Sun­day’s game. Only 79 tick­ets went un­used.

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