Manning gets Broncos off to winning start over Colts

Mon Sep 8, 2014 2:23am EDT
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(Reuters) - Peyton Manning gained revenge against his former team and put his recent Super Bowl nightmare behind him by leading the Denver Broncos to a season-opening 31-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

Manning tossed three touchdowns, all to tight end Julius Thomas, in the second quarter as Denver grabbed a 24-0 advantage and held on when the Colts made a final push in the fourth.

"It's a good start, it's good to be 1-0," Manning told reporters. "(We) never take winning for granted. It's a different year – the season opener. We were excited."

Manning had lost his previous matchup last season with Indianapolis, where he enjoyed a prolific tenure for more than a decade, and was also coming off a disastrous 43-8 Super Bowl defeat at the hands of Seattle back in February.

But in his first chance at redemption for the 2014 season, the 38-year-old threw for 269 yards in his home matchup with Andrew Luck, the quarterback who replaced him in Indianapolis.

The third-year Luck tossed for 370 yards, two touchdowns with two interceptions, and put a scare into the Broncos with a late comeback.

Luck ran for a nine-yard score to cut the lead to 24-7 just before halftime.

After a Colts field goal and a fourth-quarter Denver score that made it 31-10, Luck struck on a 41-yard pass to Dwayne Allen and again with a nine-yard TD pass to Hakeem Nicks that pulled the visitors within seven.

The Colts' final drive stalled at Denver's 39-yard-line when Luck's fourth down pass fell incomplete.   Continued...

Sep 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) throws a pass during the first half against the against the Indianapolis Colts  at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports