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Manning’s Three Picks, Falcons Early Lead Too Much to Overcome in 27-21 Loss in Atlanta

A week after America deemed the Broncos Super Bowl contenders, they were brought back down to earth by a much more motivated Falcons team at the Georgia Dome.

Peyton Manning had a historically bad first 10 minutes, throwing three interceptions, and the Falcons jumped to a 20-0 lead 25 minutes into the game and topped the Broncos 27-21.

The Broncos were able to rally in the final quarter with the running of Willis McGahee, who ran for a pair of two-yard touchdowns in the final quarter, but the comeback ultimately fell short.

The loss drops the Broncos to 1-1 on the season after their opening night win over the Steelers. The Falcons improve to 2-0 with two wins against the AFC West, the Chiefs and now Denver.

Manning was 24-for-37 for 241 with a touchdown and three picks. His QB rating was just 58.5. His QB counterpart, Matt Ryan, was very good for Atlanta, throwing for 219 yards on 24-for-36 passing with two TD’s and no picks with a QB rating of 101.5.

The Falcons jumped to a quick 7-0 lead just six plays into game after Manning’s first pick set the Falcons up at the Broncos 1-yard line. Michael Turner took it in on third down for the first score of the night.

Matt Bryant kicked a 37-yard field goal to make it 10-0 Atlanta with 9:46 to play in the first quarter after the second Manning pick.

Manning had three first quarter picks, and running back Knowshon Moreno committed the fourth Denver first quarter turnover when he fumbled on the Falcons 45 late in the quarter.

A Bryant 42-yard field was followed by Ryan hooking up with future Hall of Fame TE Tony Gonzalez for a one-yard touchdown with just under five minutes left in the first half to make it 20-0.

The Broncos got on the board before the half on a drive that went from their own 20, as Manning and favorite wide Demaryius Thomas connected on a 17-yard score to make it 20-7 at the half.

Atlanta kept the heat on the Denver D with another touchdown midway through the third quarter to make it a 27-7 game. This time it was Ryan connecting with Roddy White with a 4-yard touchdown.

A long drive from the Broncos 12 that covered 12 plays ended with the first McGahee score from two yards out to draw it to 27-14 with 11:48 to go.

The Broncos final score started from the Atlanta 45 at the 6:04 mark. Manning hit Thomas for 11 yards, and Manning then hit Moreno for 12 yards to the Falcons three.

McGahee’s second score from two yards out came with 3:25 to play.

With 2:28 to go and the Falcons starring at a 3rd-and-5 from their own 25, Ryan hit Julio Jones for 6 yards to be able to salt the game away with a huge first down.

Denver outgained the Falcons 336 to 275, but the turnovers and early deficit was just too much to overcome in Manning’s first road start of 2012.

Sunday the Broncos host the 2-0 Texans in a huge game at home.


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