DENVER (CBS4) – In a year where the Denver Broncos had three receivers with 10 or more touchdowns last season, it seems Peyton Manning is picking up right where he left off by spreading the ball around again.
Despite Julius Thomas being his favorite target in the first game against the Indianapolis Colts, hauling in three touchdown passes; Manning found three different receivers for touchdowns in the first half alone against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday – Julius Thomas, Jacob Tamme and Demaryius Thomas.READ MORE: Unemployment Claimants Struggling With ID.me Verification Stuck With No Income, No Answers
“It felt good to get in the end zone and it felt good to get a win, because … conference game, early in the season. We kind of had to grind it out and we got it done,” Tamme said.
While he didn’t catch a touchdown, Emmanuel Sanders was still Manning’s favorite target in the game with eight receptions for 108 yards, including a 48-yard grab on the first play of the game.
Running back Montee Ball also got in on the action grabbing three receptions for 29 yards.
Manning will have even another weapon when Wes Welker returns.
PHOTO GALLERY: Broncos 24, Chiefs 17
But one trend the Broncos don’t want to see continue after the first two games of the season is the lack of offense in the second half. Against the Colts the Broncos couldn’t convert third downs, going 1 for 7 in second half and nearly letting the lead slip away.
Once again the Broncos had a hard time moving the ball in the second half against the Chiefs and only mustered a field goal the whole half. They relied on their defense and a goal-line stand to secure the 24-17 victory.READ MORE: Memorial Started For Man Killed In Violent Crash In Denver's Highlands Neighborhood
In the third quarter the Chiefs had the ball for 10 minutes during a 16-play drive that resulted in a missed field goal.
“Especially for me that was tough playing that many snaps just getting back out there,” cornerback Chris Harris said. “Until we stop beating ourselves we’re going to continue to struggle like this.”
The Broncos had two chances to get the ball back during the Chiefs’ final drive. One costly mistake by the defense kept Kansas City’s drive alive after an apparent turnover. Aqib Talib had an interception for a touchdown that was called back by a Quanterus Smith offside penalty. After than Nate Irving recovered a fumble after DeMarcus Ware sacked and stripped the ball from Alex Smith that was ruled an incomplete pass after an official review.
“We keep doing this every week, we’ve got to focus on not even getting to the goal line, not letting them get down there, but our goal line defense has definitely improved since last year,” Harris said.
Some Broncos fans were worried that the Broncos may have been looking past Kansas City, but Harris said that wasn’t the case.
“We treated this game like it was an AFC Championship game … every time we play the Chiefs, Chargers or Raiders, we’re going to get a battle, and that’s how we had to take it.”
The Broncos travel to Seattle for a rematch of Super Bowl XLVIII next Sunday. Kickoff is at 2:25 p.m. on CBS4.
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