BRONCOS BREAK RECORDS, CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH
DENVER (AP) – Unbothered by the freezing weather, Matt Prater set an NFL record with a 64-yard field goal and Peyton Manning threw four more touchdown passes Sunday, lifting the Denver Broncos to a 51-28 victory over the Tennessee Titans. The temperature was 14 degrees when Prater kicked his record setter to close the first half and pull Denver within 21-20.Manning opened the third quarter by leading the Broncos on a pair of touchdown drives, and the Broncos (11-2) easily wrapped up a playoff spot.Denver’s quarterback set a franchise record with 39 completions and finished with 397 yards.
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 172 yards for the Titans (5-8), who went 73 yards in five plays to score on the game’s first drive and led 21-10 in the middle of the second quarter.
WELKER DOUBTFUL FOR CHARGER’S GAME
ENGLEWOOD (AP) – Wes Welker is unlikely to suit up for Denver’s game Thursday against San Diego after leaving Sunday’s win over Tennessee with his second concussion in four games. Speaking to reporters Monday, coach John Fox didn’t rule out his receiver but said Welker’s health is the top priority and he would go through the standard NFL protocol for players who have endured concussions. Though there are no hard-and-fast guidelines for returning, the best-case scenario for players who pass their post-concussion tests early in the week is to return to light practice Thursday, full practice Friday and be listed as probable for the game. Welker will be under more scrutiny because this is his second concussion since Nov. 17. Jacob Tamme would be a candidate to substitute for Welker as slot receiver.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL / RAMS BOWL BOUND
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Colorado State will play Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 21. The Mountain West Conference’s Rams (7-6) also played in the 2008 New Mexico Bowl, which was the team’s last trip to the postseason. The Rams defeated Fresno State 40-35. The Cougars (6-6) are playing in a bowl for the first time since 2003. Washington State finished the regular season with a 27-17 loss to rival Washington in the Apple Cup, but the team doubled its total wins from the year before – showing steady progress under second-year coach Mike Leach.
AVS LOSE AGAIN
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) – Mike Santorelli scored two goals and added an assist in the Vancouver Canucks’ 3-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night. The Canucks (17-10-5) earned their fifth win in sixth games and moved within a point of the Avalanche (20-8) in the tight Western Conference standings. Jean-Sebastien Giguere lost for the first time in eight decisions this season. The Avalanche were beaten for just the third time in nine games. Ryan Kesler also scored for the Canucks, who were outshot 29-21. Jamie McGinn had the lone goal for Colorado, scored with only 7.1 seconds left. That kept Roberto Luongo from earning his 65th NHL shutout. He is 14-8-5 this season.