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Peyton Manning's dream season ends with nightmare

The events of Saturday won't change the fact that Peyton Manning's 2012 season stands as a huge personal triumph.

On NFL Network
NFL Replay will re-air the Baltimore Ravens' 38-35 win over the Denver Broncos from the AFC divisional playoffs on Monday, Jan. 14

at 8 p.m. ET.

Manning stared down career mortality to regain his place as one of the best quarterbacks on the planet. He led the Denver Broncos to a 13-3 record and the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

And yet, there's no way history will forget the final pass of Manning's remarkable comeback season. Rolling to his right late in the first overtime period against the Baltimore Ravens, Manning threw across his body back toward the middle of the field. It was the type of mistake you'd expect from the Manning of 1998. The pass was off-target and intercepted by Ravens cornerback Corey Graham.

"Bad throw, probably the decision not great either," Manning said. "Thought I had him open, didn't get enough on it. Trying to make a play and certainly a throw I'd like to have back."

"He was trying to make a play," Broncos coach John Fox said. "I'm not going to be critical."

Six plays later, Justin Tucker's 47-yard field-goal attempt sailed through the uprights to give the Ravens a 38-35 victory. Manning's season of mastery ended in stunning fashion.

Manning finished 28-of-43 passing for 290 yards, three touchdowns and three turnovers that led to 17 Ravens points. Fox's conservative nature down the stretch played a substantial role in Denver's fate, but it's impossible to deny the fact that Manning was outplayed by Joe Flacco in a home playoff game.

Manning remains one of the game's great talents, but add another black mark to his postseason résumé.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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