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Peyton Manning's Rough Start Cost the Broncos on Monday Night

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 17:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos calls a play against the Atlanta Falcons during a game at the Georgia Dome on September 17, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Nathan FordyceContributor IIISeptember 18, 2012

People jumped the gun when Peyton Manning had a stellar game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 of the NFL season. 

But then came the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football. Manning didn't look nearly as sharp, going 24-of-37 for 241 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. 

All three of his picks came in the first quarter and the Broncos quickly found themselves down 13-0. The only other time Manning threw three interceptions in one quarter was in 2007 against San Diego. 

It was easy to start saying that the Broncos were ready to compete for a title after their performance against the Steelers, but after last night's showing, people need to relax and let Manning get back to being as close to 100 percent as he can be. 

Even though the Broncos lost 27-21, there were a lot of good things that came out of the game. One was the way the Broncos played defense. The offense turned the ball over four times, but the defense kept Denver in the game and actually gave them a chance to win. 

Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil were both blowing up the Falcons' line and putting relentless pressure on Matt Ryan. Even though Ryan had a great game, going 24-of-36 for 219 yards and two touchdowns, he very rarely had enough time to dissect the Broncos' defense. 

Another high mark was Willis McGahee. McGahee keeps proving that just because he's 30 years old, he still as a lot left in the tank. McGahee rushed for 113 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns. Having McGahee running the ball like that will only benefit what Manning can do on a regular basis. 

Then there is Demaryius Thomas. Many, including myself, assumed Eric Decker was going to be Manning's favorite target, but that hasn't been the case so far in this early season. 

Thomas had eight catches for 78 yards and a touchdown and was targeted when the Broncos needed a big play.

Of course it's hypothetical, but if Manning doesn't throw the three early interceptions, the Broncos could have come out of Atlanta with a win. 

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