- Associated Press - Monday, September 17, 2012

ATLANTA (AP) - Matt Ryan threw the 100th touchdown pass of his career and the Atlanta Falcons took a 27-7 lead after three quarters over the Denver Broncos and struggling quarterback Peyton Manning on Monday night.

Manning was intercepted three times in the first quarter, only the second time in his career he’s had such an awful opening period. The Falcons raced to a 20-0 lead before Manning finally connected with Demaryius Thomas on a 17-yard TD pass with 6 seconds left in the first half.

But Ryan guided the Falcons on a 64-yard drive that put the home team solidly in control heading to the final quarter. He hooked up with Roddy White on consecutive passes of 21 and 20 yards, then went to White on a 4-yarder for the touchdown.

White had eight catches for 102 yards.

Ryan connected with Tony Gonzalez on a 1-yard TD in the second quarter. The tight end, who has caught the second-most passes in NFL history, was left wide open in the back of the end zone on a crossing route, after his quarterback froze the Broncos defense with a nifty play fake.

A week after Manning won his Denver debut with a home victory over Pittsburgh, the Broncos had turnovers on four on their first five possessions.

Manning was picked three times on his first eight attempts. The last time he threw three interceptions in the first quarter was in Indianapolis’ 23-21 loss at San Diego on Nov. 11, 2007. The four-time MVP had a 31.2 passer rating in the period.

It was an uncharacteristic prime time start for Manning, who began the night with an 11-3 career record on Mondays.

On the game’s third play from scrimmage, Manning threw into triple coverage to Jacob Tamme, but Falcons strong safety William Moore stepped in front of the tight end for an interception.

Moore ran down the left sideline 33 yards before Orlando Franklin tackled him at the 1.

Falcons running back Michael Turner ran twice over the left side of the line before jumping over a stack of Atlanta and Denver linemen to cross the ball over the goal line for a 7-0 lead with 13:20 left in the first quarter.

The Broncos ran two plays before Manning faked a play-action handoff and threw down the right seam to Eric Decker. This time, free safety Thomas DeCoud picked him off and returned it 15 yards.

After Julio Jones dropped what would have been a 19-yard touchdown pass from Ryan in the left corner of the end zone, Matt Bryant followed with a 37-yard field goal to make it 10-0 at the 9:46 mark.

Manning’s third pick went to Robert McClain, a reserve cornerback who was taking his first snap because Asante Samuel injured his neck on the previous play.

On Sunday, Manning’s younger brother, Eli, threw three interceptions in the first half then rallied the New York Giants to a 41-34 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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