DENVER, JAN. 17 -- "This one's for you, amigo."

That's what Denver wide receiver Mark Jackson was thinking as he said adios to Cleveland's Ray Ellis on an 80-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter today.

Jackson, one of the Broncos' "Three Amigos," dedicated the touchdown that put Denver ahead, 28-10, on the way to its 38-33 AFC championship game victory, to missing member Vance Johnson.

"That's for you, Vance," lip readers in the television audience could see Jackson saying after he broke a tackle and turned a broken play into six points. Jackson had Johnson's nickname, "The Vance," printed on the back of one shoe and "Three Amigos" on the other.

Jackson, Johnson, and rookie Ricky Nattiel, the Broncos' three small-but-quick wide receivers, have dubbed themselves the Three Amigos. But Johnson had to sit out the game after suffering a groin injury last week.

"I visited him in the hospital and he was teary-eyed," said Jackson. If there were any tears here late this afternoon they were tears of joy.

"I was really worried about having an injury and not being able to play," Johnson said from his hospital room. "But I'll bounce back and be ready to go to the Super Bowl."

The two remaining Amigos played big roles in getting Denver to the Super Bowl and giving Johnson that chance.

Nattiel caught the game's first touchdown.

Jackson had four catches for 134 yards, including the 80-yard stunner. It came right after Cleveland had capitalized on John Elway's only interception to cut a 21-3 halftime deficit to 21-10 early in the third quarter.

The Broncos had third and 10 at their 20 and Elway, forced out of the pocket, had bumped into his own right guard, Stefan Humphries, while trying to buy time.

"At that point, I wasn't thinking," said Elway, "I was just reacting."

So was Jackson. "I was maybe the third read on the play," he said, "but when John scrambles, everybody's a primary receiver.

"I was trying to stay behind the first down marker, and {Mark} Harper was all over me and I sort of pushed him off and came back to the ball -- don't tell anybody. Really, all I was thinking was, 'Please if I can just get by him and get the first down.' "

Harper had a hand around Jackson's waist, but "after I shook him off, I saw that all that was between me and the goal was Felix Wright. I saw Felix coming from the other side and I thought, 'If I get by him, I might get a touchdown.' He was coming really fast, and sometimes that's an advantage. I thought I could give him a move and, sure enough, he dived at my feet.".