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Manning, Broncos finally score late in 2nd quarter
ATLANTA (AP) - Tony Gonzalez caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan in the second quarter to help the Atlanta Falcons take a 20-7 halftime lead over struggling Denver quarterback Peyton Manning and the Broncos on Monday night.
With 6 seconds left before halftime, Demaryius Thomas caught a 17-yard TD pass from Manning to cut the lead to 20-7. Broncos coach John Fox successfully challenged that Thomas got both feet down on the left side of the end zone, and the play was reversed in Denver’s favor.
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.
It was an uncharacteristic prime time start for the four-time NFL MVP, who began the night with an 11-3 career record on Mondays.
Gonzalez, the league’s career-leading tight end and second career-leading receiver, was uncovered in the back of the end zone when Ryan spotted him open on a crossing route with 4:45 left in the second quarter.
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.
Atlanta nickel cornerback Christopher Owens left the game just a few seconds later with a head injury and was not expected to return.
On the next-to-last snap of the first quarter, Atlanta linebacker Stephen Nicholas forced a fumble by Knoshown Moreno near the Denver sideline and Sean Weatherspoon recovered for Atlanta.
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