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The Cincinnati Bengals thwart misfiring Peyton Manning to overcome the Denver Broncos

An interception return from Dre Kirkpatrick saw the Cincinnati Bengals outgun the Denver Broncos 37-28 to secure a NFL play-off berth.

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In a topsy-turvy contest in Cincinnati, the Bengals led 20-7 at half-time but three third-term touchdowns from Denver saw the Broncos take the lead with a quarter to play.

But with Denver quarterback Peyton Manning throwing three interceptions in the final quarter, the home side triumphed by nine points, ending the Broncos' hopes of finishing top of the NFL's American Football Conference.

The winner of each conference will be given home-ground advantage if they reach their conference championship game.

The victory clinched a post-season spot for the Bengals, while Denver (11-4 win-loss record) cannot overhaul the AFC-leading New England Patriots (12-3) heading into the final round of the regular season due to their inferior head-to-head record.

The Bengals will win the AFC North title if they see off division rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers, also assured of play-off action, on Sunday.

On Denver's first drive of the last quarter, Manning's pass for Demaryius Thomas was picked off by Adam Jones.

Down by just two points and on the Broncos' fourth drive, Manning threw towards Thomas again at third-and-one but Kirkpatrick intercepted and then burst up the field to score a 30-yard TD.

Manning would throw one more interception on the visitors' final drive of the game - Kirkpatrick again making the play at the expense of Thomas, as Cincinnati moved to a 10-4-1 record.

The 38-year-old QB finished with 28 completions from 44 attempted passes for a total of 311 yards, while in addition to his four interceptions, he was also sacked twice.

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton completed 17 of 26 attempted passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns, plus one interception.

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