Manning, who had been sidelined by a torn plantar fascia in his left foot for the latter part of the season, replaced stand-in signal caller Brock Osweiler in a Week 17 win over the Chargers for his first action since Nov. 15. Osweiler had started the previous six games for the Broncos, with rookie Trevor Siemian serving as the backup.
With Manning under center, the Broncos outscored San Diego 20–7 on their way to a 27–20 victory. Denver leaned more heavily on the running game with Manning on the field, as he completed five of nine passes for 69 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.
The Broncos, who are the No. 1 seed in the AFC, have a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Denver plays the lowest winning seed from the AFC wild-card round on Jan. 17 at Mile High Stadium.