DENVER - Get ready for Brady-Manning XVII.
Manning and Brady have squared off 16 times before, a full season's worth of matchups between the two quarterbacks whose careers are so intertwined that a conversation about one almost has to include the other - like Bird vs. Magic or Ali vs. Frazier.
Football fans won't wait that long.
Brady has won 11 of the 16 meetings against Manning's teams, but they're 2-2 in the playoffs, including Denver's 26-16 win in the conference championship game two years ago. This game marks just the seventh time Manning will face Brady at home.
The 17th chapter was slated for November before Manning went out with a foot injury that pushed longtime backup Brock Osweiler into the starting - and starring - role.
Osweiler led the Broncos back from a two-touchdown, fourth-quarter deficit against New England on Nov. 29 in a game Denver won 30-24 in overtime. Manning had just gotten out of his cast and watched that game from the locker room after shaking Brady's hand in pregame warmups.
He returned to action in the season finale, his cameo propelling the Broncos past San Diego and into the AFC's No. 1 seed that ensures Brady & Co. will have to play at altitude in their fifth consecutive trip to the conference championship game.
Manning's teammates dropped seven passes, but came through in crunch time. Denver is 10-3 in games decided by seven points or fewer, and Manning said being battle-tested helped them on this blustery night.
"I could have protected the ball a little bit more," said Toussaint, who scored his first career TD in the first half.
"Obviously, they made a great play. You've got to give them credit, but in that situation, I put it on myself."
That was Manning's 55th game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime, extending one of the dozen NFL records he owns.
Ware's sack ended Pittsburgh's next drive and McManus kicked his fifth field goal, joking it was such a tricky crosswind that he just kept aiming "at the guy holding the beer in the top left corner."
Chris Boswell made a 47-yarder with 19 seconds left, but Anderson, who gained 72 yards on 15 carries, recovered the onside kick.
Manning credited Denver's NFL-best defense for thwarting a team that piled up 34 points on them last month.
"Obviously, down in the fourth quarter and down the home stretch, great play by our defense," Manning said. "They gave us some good opportunities all day. Pittsburgh did a great job down there in the red zone, keeping us from touchdowns. We had to settle for field goals.
"The best thing we did, we stayed patient all game. We didn't force anything and we didn't give them any short fields. Obviously, when we needed it, we had that big drive and we got that touchdown that really put us up."
Manning, two months shy of 40, has said this could very well be his final hurrah, and he's 60 minutes from another chance to win his second Super Bowl ring.
Brady - who else? - stands in his way.
Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press