Manning bounces back from early troubles, Broncos stun Chiefs

Former Vol legend Peyton Manning struggled early against the Kansas City Chiefs, but his team bounced back late to secure a victory.

Peyton Manning looked beaten and battered early on in Arrowhead Stadium.

After being sacked twice and watching a sputtering run game struggle to get anything going, Manning threw his second pick-six in as many games to rookie cornerback Marcus Peters, who made a phenomenal jump on the ball on third down. The Chiefs went ahead 14-0 and the game appeared to be in hand.

Photo by Jeffrey Beall. Courtesy of creativecommons.org.
Photo by Jeffrey Beall. Courtesy of creativecommons.org.

However, the Broncos’ quarterback wasn’t done.

On the next drive, Manning finally got his offense going, driving 80 yards and going 5-of-8, ending the drive with a touchdown to Emmanuel Sanders.

Manning then tied it up just three minutes later with his second score to Virgil Green after cornerback Aqib Talib picked off Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith on the Chiefs’ own 15 yard line. Manning finished the day with 256 yards through the air and joined Brett Favre as the only quarterback to surpass 70,000 career passing yards.

After the Broncos and Chiefs traded field goals, Knile Davis rushed for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:26 remaining. This presented a familiar position for Denver’s veteran quarterback: a two-minute drill down seven with 80 yards to tie it up, and the seven time all-pro responded.

Manning and company drove 10 plays, including three long receptions to his favorite target Demaryius Thomas. With 36 seconds left, Manning hit Sanders for 19 yards and his third touchdown strike of the day to tie the game at 24. Everyone assumed this one was going to overtime.

But instead of kneeling the ball, Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid chose to be aggressive and utilize Jamaal Charles. Charles responded with a crushing fumble that was scooped up by Denver defensive back Bradley Roby, who returned it for 21 yards and the game-winning touchdown. It was Charles’ second fumble and the Chiefs’ fifth turnover of the game.

In other ‘Vols in the Pros’ news, Chiefs’ safety Eric Berry received huge support in his home debut after returning from a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Berry recorded four tackles and jarred a ball loose late in the game as well.

Broncos’ defensive tackle Malik Jackson had three tackles and the game-sealing sack on Smith as time expired. Both Colquitt brothers had big punting days for their respective teams as Britton averaged 45 yards per punt and Dustin averaged 52.5.

Edited by Cody McClure

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Dominic is in his second year writing on staff at TNJN. Along with being a staff writer, he also covers the UT men's basketball beat. He is currently a senior at the University of Tennessee majoring in Journalism and Electronic Media. Follow him @dominiclobianco on Twitter!