The Peyton Manning era got off to a glorious start in prime time in Denver last night, as the Broncos took down fellow AFC contender the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-19. Peyton was simply brilliant in his first game in 20 months, going 19-26 for 253 yards and two touchdowns, the first of which gave Manning his 400th career touchdown. It took Manning 208 games to reach that milestone, nearly 20 games faster than it took the other members of the 400 TD club, Dan Marino and Brett Favre.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Steelers struck first blood with a short field goal. Denver answered with the first touchdown of the night, a 7 yard scamper by Knowshon Moreno. After that, Pittsburgh dominated the time of possession, as they broke through with their first touchdown on the very next drive, a 4 yard touchdown pass to tight end Heath Miller, capping off a 14 play, 89 yard drive.
The Steeler offense played keep away from Manning once again to start the 2nd half, this time with a 16 play, 74 yard drive to add another field goal that took nearly 9 minutes off the clock. Two plays later, Manning threw his first career Denver touchdown, hooking up with big play threat Demaryius for a 71 yard score on a play eerily reminiscent of the touchdown that Denver used to beat the Steelers in last years playoffs. Roethlisberger responded with a score of his own early in the 4th quarter, hitting Mike Wallace on a 3 yard TD to cap off another long drive, this one taking 13 plays and over 6 minutes off the clock to give the Steelers a 19-14 lead.
Manning and the Bronco’s offense struck back with a touchdown drive of their own, as Manning hit former Colt teammate Jacob Tamme for a 1 yard score, plus the 2 point converstion, to give the Broncos the lead back at 22-19. Denver was almost able to put the game way on their next drive, but they had to settle for a short field goal by Matt Prater to extend their lead to 6, giving Roethlisberger, who’s come through so many times with game winning drives, one more chance to win the game. The Bronco defense came through this time, as former Super Bowl hero Tracy Porter, whose pick six of Manning in Super Bowl XLIV sealed a Saints victory, this time gave a Roethlisberger a taste of Manning’s medicine, picking off Big Ben and returning it 43 yards for a game clinching touchdown.
My game ball goes to who else, but Manning, who after 600 days away from playing in a meaningful game, came in a torched one of the better defenses in the league. Demaryius Thomas, Wesley Woodyard, and Porter get shout outs as well; with Thomas racking up 110 yards receiving, and being the catalyst on that game changing touchdown in the 3rd quarter, Woodyard racking up 12 tackles and a sack, and Porter for chipping in with 8 tackles, 5 pass deflections, and the game sealing pick six.
The Broncos head off to Atlanta on Monday Night in Week 2 to play a Falcon team coming off a dominate performance against the Chiefs yesterday; it should be a great game
About the Author
Written by Alex Summers
Lifelong sports fan, love the NFL, and big fan of a basketball and baseball