DENVER -- With the Broncos' chances of getting to the AFC Championship Game hanging in the balance, Peyton Manning took the snap from the Denver 38-yard line and faded back to pass. Finding no open receiver, he was flushed out of the pocket and scrambled to his right, trying to buy time.
As he scanned the field, Manning saw Brandon Stokley over the middle, and even though he was covered closely by Corey Graham, Manning thought he could complete the pass. But he threw the ball awkwardly across his body, and Graham stepped in front of Stokley and intercepted it at the Denver 45.
Latest NFL stories
And that was it for Denver.
Ravens running back Ray Rice ran three straight times to give Justin Tucker a chance at a 47-yard field goal to win it, and the rookie kicker slammed the ball through the uprights for the shocking upset -- the latest postseason frustration for Manning.
"It was a very disappointing finish to the game," Manning said. "You can go through a lot of plays, certainly offensively, that you'd like to have back. As of right now, it's hard to think about anything else besides this loss."
And the interception? "Bad throw. Probably the decision wasn't great, either. I thought I had an opening and I didn't get enough on it. I was trying to make a play, and certainly a throw I'd like to have back."
Manning, who was released by the Colts and signed with Denver last March -- prompting the Broncos' trade of Tim Tebow to the Jets -- and made a stunning comeback from neck problems that kept him out of the entire 2011 season, fell to 9-11 in the playoffs and 0-4 in postseason games played below 40 degrees.
"I'm very disappointed, just because of how much effort and work this team put into this season, and certainly we had plans of playing next week," said Manning, who was 28-for-43 for 290 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
After the Broncos' loss, Tebow's brother Peter, who lives in Denver, took to Twitter: "Am I the only one in Denver who's happy right now?"
But Tebow was the last thing on Manning's mind afterward.
"We really have put a lot of hard work into this season and made a lot of strides and accomplished a lot," he said. "I wasn't quite as good as I wanted to be, and it probably cost us a couple scoring opportunities."