All hailed the return of Peyton Manning last week and rightfully so. His performance was on par with other great outings in the career of a sure-fire hall-of-famer. Week one definitely got Broncos fans excited for a new era in Denver and for a incredible 2012 season, but last night got many worried, not just orange and blue touting Coloradoans, but bettors for Manning and Co. this season as well.
On the big stage that is Monday Night Football, Manning was intercepted three times and that was only the first quarter.
Matt Ryan on the other hand, led to Falcons to a 27-21 win over Denver as Atlanta improved to 2-0 on the young season. Ryan wasn’t spectacular, but he was he efficient self, completing 24 of 36 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan also had no interceptions.
Manning and Denver regrouped near the end of the first half, scoring their first touchdown with just six ticks left on the clock in the second quarter on a Manning pass. The Falcons led 20-7 at the end of the half.
After another Falcons TD that made it 27-7, the Broncos were able to punch in two fourth quarter scores to give hope to a comeback, but Ryan completed a key third down pass to Julio Jones and Atlanta ran out the clock on Denver to seal the home victory.
Manning’s poor performance has assuredly sparked concern, but Denver bettors shouldn’t hit the panic button just yet. The Broncos still showed resilience in last night’s loss and fought back to make it a game, despite four turnovers (the other was a Knowshon Moreno fumble). The running game was solid, with Willis McGahee picking up 113 yards on the ground on 22 carries and the defense was good enough to win, although they didn’t force an Atlanta turnover.
The biggest thing to remember is that even the great Manning has had plenty of three-interception games in his career. Maybe not in the first quarter until last night, but he still has had bad games and has been able to overcome them and move on. At this point, there’s no reason to think he won’t do the same this season.
However, it may be tough for the Broncos to bounce back, at least in week three as they take on the Houston Texans. Houston has looked and acted like one of the best teams in the NFL so far this year, winning their first two games decisively. With the Broncos at home, they may be able to cover a decently sized spread, but a win would be a tall order in week three. Even still, look for Denver to be a playoff contending team in the AFC West and look for Manning to have, maybe not one of his best, but still a solid season in his first year with the Broncos.