Manning takes a step back
Atlanta • Matt Ryan made sure he threw the ball to his teammates.
That was more than Peyton Manning could say.
During a stunning first quarter, Manning was picked off once, then twice, then a third time.
Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons capitalized on all the mistakes, building a big lead before halftime and holding off the Denver Broncos for a 27-21 victory Monday night.
"He's an excellent player. He played well," Manning said. "I think he's going to have a great season and a long and great career."
Manning has already had a great career.
This was one game he'd prefer to forget.
"Each turnover has its own story that no one really wants to hear," he said. "I've just got to take care of the ball better."
Ryan threw the 100th touchdown pass of his career, Roddy White had 102 yards receiving and the Falcons (2-0) made a 20-0 lead stand up, if just barely.
Willis McGahee scored on two 2-yard touchdown runs in the fourth quarter to give the Broncos (1-1) late hope. But, on third down, Ryan connected with Julio Jones on a 6-yard pass that gave Atlanta a crucial first down with less than 2 minutes to go.
They managed to run out the clock from there.
"It's the way you want to close out the game," Ryan said. "We had some more opportunities to do it [earlier]. But fortunately, we got it done when we needed to."
He didn't even realize he had reached 100 touchdowns in his career until told by a member of the media relations staff.
"I guess I'm getting old," the 27-year-old Ryan quipped. "It's special to throw many touchdown passes. It's pretty cool."
For Manning and the Broncos, it's back to the drawing board.
Even though his velocity is supposed to be nearly the same as it was before four neck surgeries and missing his entire final season in Indianapolis, Manning threw a number of wobbly passes that seemed to just hang in the air long enough for the Falcons to step in front of them.
Other times, it looked as though he had to put everything he had on the ball to get it where he wanted, even if it wasn't necessarily a deep route.
He finished 24 of 37 for 241 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas just before halftime.
The only other time Manning was picked off three times in the opening quarter was with the Colts in a 2007 game at San Diego. Falcons 27, Broncos 21
Denver 0 7 0 14 21
Atlanta 10 10 7 0 27
Atl • Turner 1 run (Bryant kick), 13:20.
Atl • FG Bryant 37, 9:46.
Atl • FG Bryant 42, 10:05.
Atl • Gonzalez 1 pass from Ryan (Bryant kick), 4:39.
Den • D.Thomas 17 pass from Manning (Prater kick), :06.
Atl • White 4 pass from Ryan (Bryant kick), 7:08.
Den • McGahee 2 run (Prater kick), 11:48.
Den • McGahee 2 run (Prater kick), 3:25.
Attendance • 70,427.
First downs 24 22
Total Net Yards 336 275
Rushes-yards 27-118 28-67
Passing 218 208
Punt Returns 3-11 1-(-2)
Kickoff Returns 2-47 2-47
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 3-80
Comp-Att-Int 24-37-3 24-36-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 3-23 1-11
Punts 5-50.2 6-42.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 10-96 8-72
Time of Possession 27:20 32:40
Rushing • Denver, McGahee 22-113, Ball 1-4, Moreno 3-2, Manning 1-(minus 1). Atlanta, Turner 17-42, Ryan 6-19, Rodgers 3-3, Snelling 1-2, Jones 1-1.
Passing • Denver, Manning 24-37-3-241. Atlanta, Ryan 24-36-0-219.
Receiving • Denver, D.Thomas 8-78, Decker 4-53, Stokley 3-27, Dreessen 2-16, Tamme 2-13, McGahee 2-11, Ball 1-17, Willis 1-14, Moreno 1-12. Atlanta, White 8-102, Gonzalez 7-70, Jones 4-14, Douglas 3-27, Snelling 1-6, Turner 1-0.
Missed Field Goals • None.