With everything on the line, the Bengals picked off Peyton Manning — twice, no less — and ran back into the playoffs.
Dre Kirkpatrick returned Manning's third interception for a touchdown in the closing minutes Monday night, completing a fourth-quarter rally that gave Cincinnati a 37-28 victory over the Denver Broncos and a spot in the playoffs.
Kirkpatrick's 30-yard return with 2 minutes 41 seconds left capped a game of big plays — long runs, big kick returns and two interceptions run back for scores. With 67 seconds left, Kirkpatrick again picked off a Manning pass to clinch it.
The Bengals (10-4-1) secured a playoff berth for the fourth consecutive season, a franchise record. They'll play in Pittsburgh on Sunday night, with the winner taking the AFC North title.
Manning rallied the Broncos (11-4) to three touchdowns in the third quarter and a lead, but came up empty in the closing minutes and finished with a season-high four interceptions. The loss gave New England home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Denver scored 21 points in the third quarter, with Manning throwing a pair of touchdowns to Emmanuel Sanders. With a chance to pull off his 51st game-winning drive in a heavy rain, Manning threw a sideline pass directly to Kirkpatrick, who ran it back untouched.
Manning finished 28 of 44 for 311 yards.
Andy Dalton settled down after a huge early mistake — an overthrown pass that Aqib Talib returned for a touchdown — and rookie Jeremy Hill led a dominating running game that finished with 207 yards overall. Hill had an 85-yard touchdown run with 147 yards overall, going over 1,000 for the season.