After almost two years of watching from the sidelines, four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning was finally able to get back onto the field as the starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos in Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As if the task of getting back on the field wasn’t hard enough for the future Hall of Famer, Manning had to stare down arguably one of the best defenses in the NFL. The Steelers may be an aging squad, but they’re still a formidable force defensively with Pro Bowler Troy Polamalu leading the way.
It was obvious early on that Manning had some rust to shake off as he clearly wasn’t the Manning of old. Fortunately for the Broncos, that rust was gone quickly as the perennial Pro Bowler began to regain his form as arguably one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time.
The Steelers drew first blood in this Week 1 showdown with 21-yard field goal by kicker Shaun Suisham. The first three points of the game were followed by the Broncos countering with a 7-yard run from running back Knowshon Moreno. Shortly after the Broncos retaliated with a touchdown, the Steelers were able to retake the lead with one of their own with a 4-yard pass to tight end Heath Miller from Ben Roethlisberger.
Things began to tighten up in the third quarter with a 71-yard strike from Manning to wideout Demaryius Thomas and another field goal from Suisham. The Broncos had the slight lead, 14-13, before the Steelers were able to retake the lead once again with a 3-yard pass from Roethlisberger to wide receiver Mike Wallace to start the fourth quarter.
With a 19-14 lead, the pressure was on Manning for the first time this season and he responded in classic fashion leading the Broncos to a touchdown and another field goal. After Manning set the pace with a 25-19 lead, Tracy Porter sealed the deal with a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown with 1:58 remaining in the fourth.
The Broncos went on to win the first game of the season, 31-19.
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