After the heartbreaking loss in Super Bowl 48, the Denver Broncos didn’t skip a beat to start the 2014 season. Peyton Manning and Julius Thomas teamed up against the Indianapolis Colts for three second quarter touchdown passes.
The first came during a goal line situation. The drive was made by Julius Thomas earlier on a 34-yard catch and run to set Denver up in the red zone, then on a third and goal from three Manning found Thomas breaking free outside for the easy pitch and catch.
On their next drive, Thomas burned a linebacker across the middle of the field for a 35-yard touchdown from Manning to cap a 9-play, 78 yard drive to put the Broncos up 17-0.
Then again on the next drive, Manning and Thomas capped another long drive to put Denver up 24-0 late in the first half.
Julius Thomas would finish the game with 7 catches for 104 yards and three touchdowns. However, Thomas and the entire Broncos offense in general went quiet in the second half as the Colts nearly mounted a comeback. Manning put together one critical fourth quarter drive to extend the lead to 31-10 to help Denver coast to a 31-24 victory. Andrew Luck and the Colts had their hopes of a comeback dashed in the final minute with an incomplete pass on fourth down to Reggie Wayne at the Broncos 39-yard line.
The Colts would get the last laugh in 2014, however, as they would force the Broncos into a one and done in the playoffs that would result in wholesale change with the coaching staff. That decision would set the stage for the historic 2015 run.