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The temperature at kickoff was 13 degrees, and Manning fell to 0-4 lifetime when the temperature is 40 or less. He finished 28 for 43 for 290 yards and accounted for all three Denver turnovers — the two picks and a lost fumble that set up the touchdown that tied the game at 28 late in the third quarter.

The last throw was the worst one, though.

“Not a good decision,” Manning said. “Not a great throw, either.”

Those mistakes nullified a record-setting day for returner Trindon Holliday, who returned a punt 90 yards for a touchdown and a kickoff 104 yards for another score. Both were playoff records for longest returns, as was the 248 total return yards he had.

All for naught.

This was, more or less, the unthinkable for the Broncos (13-4), who came in on an 11-game winning streak and the odds-on favorite, at 3-1, to win the Super Bowl, in Manning’s hometown of New Orleans, no less.

Instead, this loss goes down with the most devastating in Denver history. Right there with the 30-27 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Jan. 4, 1997 — another year when Denver looked very much like Super Bowl material.

But it’s Baltimore and Lewis who are in the AFC title game for the second straight year.

Last year, Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal against New England that would have tied that game at the end of regulation.

This year, the Ravens had Tucker, and though the temperature was cold and the ball was hard, coach John Harbaugh showed zero desire to get the ball closer after Ray Rice ran for 11 yards to the Denver 34 near the end of the first overtime.

Tucker was making them from 67 yards in pre-game warmups.

He finished the day 1 for 1. Broncos kicker Matt Prater missed his only try, from 52 yards, when he hit the turf, then the ball, on an attempt at the end of the first half. Broncos coach John Fox will be second-guessed about the decision to go for the long kick, especially considering the way Flacco responded: Throwing and completing three straight passes after the miss for a 58-yard touchdown drive that tied the game at 21 going into halftime.

The touchdown was a 32-yard connection to Torrey Smith, marking the second time Smith beat Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey. Smith also got behind the 12-time Pro Bowler for a 59-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Yes, these were uncharacteristic plays for the Broncos, who routed Baltimore on its home field, 34-17, less than a month ago.

But on this day, the coldest playoff game in Broncos history, these were different teams playing for different stakes.

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