John Elway and the Denver Broncos went through an improbable playoff run with Tim Tebow at quarterback, but Elway could see they would need a long-term answer at quarterback if they were to bring a championship back to the Mile High City. They did that by signing the most coveted free agent in NFL history when they signed Peyton Manning.
Manning would come out in his first start for Denver completing his first pass and getting Denver out to midfield before the first drive stalled. From there, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense began to rear its ugly head in the first quarter, but Denver’s defense was just as stout.
The two teams would trade punts through the first quarter, but both teams got some drives in before halftime going into the break with the Steelers up 10-7. Down 13-7 late in the third quarter, Manning began to find his stride after missing all of the previous season.
A quick pass outside to Demaryius Thomas got it all started. Manning made an easy screen pass throw to Thomas who turned it up field for a 71-yard touchdown to put Denver up 14-13.
The Steelers answered right back putting up their final points in the game on the next drive to take a 19-14 lead after a failed two-point conversion. From that point on, the game was owned by Peyton Manning.
The first came on a long drive to retake the lead on their next drive that saw Manning find open wide receiver after open wide receiver. The drive was capped by a quick one-yard toss outside to Jacob Tamme for the touchdown. After converting the two-ooint conversion to go up 22-19, they would tack on another field goal after 10-play 51 yard clock-eating drive that put them up 25-19 with just over a three minutes to go in the game.
Three plays later, Ben Roethlisberger tried to find Emmanuel Sanders and instead found Tracy Porter stepping in front for the easy pick six and the 31-19 victory.
The game was an omen of good things to come for Peyton and the Broncos. Plus it was nice to see the Steelers lose again so soon after losing to Tebow earlier that January.