BRONCOS STAND FIRM AFTER MELTDOWN

BRONCOS STAND FIRM AFTER MELTDOWN

BRONCOS-ELWAY

Fox stands by decision, Elway supports his coach

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - John Fox would tell Peyton Manning to take the knee again.

John Elway, of all people, agreed with that call.

Given 31 seconds, two timeouts, the ball at the 20 and one of the best quarterbacks in the game, the Broncos coach decided to run out the clock and head to overtime.

Result: Baltimore 38, Denver 35. End of season in Broncoland.

Fox said he felt good about the decision when he made it Saturday, toward the end of one of the most disheartening losses in the franchise's history.

After rolling it around in his head during the last two sleepless nights, he stood by his decision.

Elway, the quarterback-turned-front office executive, said he concurred.

PERILS OF THE PEAK

Broncos are 9th top seed to stumble since '05

DENVER (AP) - No one should be surprised that the Super Bowl favorites are already out of the playoffs.

With their 38-35 loss in double-overtime to the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night, the Denver Broncos became the ninth No. 1 seed in the last eight years to go down in the divisional round.

On Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons nearly became the 10th before escaping Seattle's upset bid in a 30-28 thriller and becoming just the seventh top seed since 2005 to advance to the conference championship.

Among the top seeds to have fallen flat in the first playoff game are a 15-1 team, three 14-2 teams and five 13-3 teams - all at home, coming off a bye and facing an opponent that had to travel following a win on wild-card weekend.

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