Peyton Manning: Denver Broncos Star Will Continue Hot Start vs. Atlanta Falcons

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 16, 2012

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 09:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos looks for a receiver against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 9, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Steelers 31-19.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Peyton Manning, the 6'5" 230-pound quarterback with the rocket arm, showed no signs of missing all of 2011 when he led his new-look Denver Broncos to an opening game win over Pittsburgh.

He'll continue that trend in another tough early-season matchup against the Atlanta Falcons.

Though the Falcons are among the most talked about teams in the league after their strong performance in Week 1, their defense was far from dominant against Kansas City. The Chiefs are anything but a good offensive team, and they still hung up 24 points on Atlanta.

The Falcons have a decent secondary, but we all know how Manning can rip through the middle of the field with his favorite targets. So far, guys like Brandon Stokley and Jacob Tamme are starting to emerge as targets who could be very productive thanks to Manning's presence.

Manning may not be as sound physically as he was before his neck issues, but he demonstrated in Week 1 that he has the same savvy and command of an NFL offense. In his debut against Pittsburgh, he carved up the Steelers' stingy D by going 19-for-26, with 253 yards and two touchdowns.

He proved that he's still a quarterback who will not turn the ball over much, and he'll rarely throw an incompletion because of his ability go through his progressions and to check down as a last resort.

We all wrote Manning off too early. He was still playing in his prime just prior to being sidelined with multiple neck surgeries, and he showed no signs of any physical setbacks in Week 1. 

His most talented target heading into the season was undoubtedly speedy receiver Demaryius Thomas, but analysts weren't sure that they'd mesh. In their debut, Manning and Thomas dispelled any doubts by connecting five times for 110 yards, including a 71-yard TD that was the result of a brilliant all-out blitz read by Manning, who spotted a wide-open Thomas on the left sideline.

He even displayed the last thing we expected to see—a seven-yard rush that picked up a first down and made football fans from all over laugh hysterically. 

Manning has got the weapons in Denver, and we already know that he has the type of defense that will play well with a lead or will keep the Broncos in the game should Manning struggle. 

Perhaps the only question mark surrounding Peyton Manning has all but been erased now; it's obviously time to put his name back up at the top of the QB list with Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.


Steven Cook is a University of Tennessee student and a TNT breaking news writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter for fresh reaction to the sports world.