Peyton Manning's scramble leaves Broncos teammates delighted

USA TODAY Sports recaps the AFC Championship Game showdown between the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos.

DENVER – It’s probably safe to say that the quarterback scramble on third-and-long isn’t on any page of the Denver Broncos’ offensive playbook.

But that didn’t stop Peyton Manning from improvising, and making perhaps the most surprising play of the AFC Championship Game with his 39-year-old legs.

Facing a third-and-10 midway through the third quarter Sunday against the New England Patriots, Manning saw more than 10 yards of open field in front of him once he stepped up in the pocket. So he tucked the ball under his right arm and started sprinting.

Well, it surely felt like sprinting. It might not have looked like it, but he ran fast enough to beat the New England defensive tackle Alan Branch toward the sideline. Then he headed for the first down marker.

“I got a go route, I’m coming back to the ball, going to the sideline,…

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