Aug. 30, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback (18) Peyton Manning stretches prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals during a preseason game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Steelers Vs. Broncos: Peyton Manning Wins Denver Debut, 31-19

Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos picked up a victory on Sunday Night Football.

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38 Total Updates since September 3, 2012
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2012 NFL Standings: Broncos Win, Chiefs Lose And Chargers Vs. Raiders Awaits

The first Sunday of the 2012 NFL season is complete and, following a 31-19 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night, the Denver Broncos are atop of the AFC West standings, exactly where they ended the 2011 regular season. This is just the first week so there's not much more to be said other than that the Broncos are leading the division for the time being.

Of course, that will change on Monday night after the San Diego Chargers visit the Oakland Raiders in the late game on ESPN (8:15 p.m. MT). Unless the rare tie happens, one of those two teams will join the Broncos as co-leaders in the division.

The Kansas City Chiefs will also have company at the bottom of the division following the conclusion of the Chargers-Raiders contest. Kansas City came out on the wrong end of a 40-24 decision against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. The Falcons scored 23 straight points from the second through the fourth quarters to seal the victory. In 2011, the Chiefs opened the season with a 41-7 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

W L T STREAK
Denver 1 0 0 Won 1
Kansas City 0 1 0 Lost 1
Oakland 0 0 0
San Diego 0 0 0


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Von Miller Won't Let Tim Tebow's Memory Die In Denver

In the waning seconds of the Denver Broncos' 31-19 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night, Von Miller sacked Ben Roethlisberger twice. The first time, Miller performed a crazy legs dance:

Vonmiller_medium

OK, that's a bit showy, but, hey, the Broncos are about to win. After his second sack of Roethlisberger, Miller Tebow'd:

Von2_medium

Tim Tebow must live forever in Denver's collective memory.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos Final Score: Denver Scores 17 Straight To Win 31-19

Peyton Manning is indeed back after leading the Denver Broncos to a 31-19 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday night.

It may have been 20 months since Peyton Manning last played a football game that counted, but Sunday night in Denver you could not tell. On the second play of the fourth quarter, the Pittsburgh Steelers took a 19-14 lead on a touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Mike Wallace. The two-point conversion failed, however, and Manning delivered a fourth-quarter comeback drive for the 36th time in his career.

It took only four minutes and 17 seconds and 10 plays for Manning to go 80 yards to put the Broncos back in front. He found former Colts teammate Jacob Tamme for a 1-yard touchdown pass and then Willis McGahee for the two-point conversion to put Denver in front 22-19.

Manning also connected with Tamme for a big pass play on Denver's next drive, which resulted in a field goal that put them ahead 25-19. Then, as Ben Roethlisberger attempted to mount his own comeback, Tracy Porter intercepted him with 1:58 left and returned it 43 yards for a game-icing touchdown.

Portersix


Von Miller
was also instrumental in finishing the game, twice sacking Roethlisberger in the final two minutes.

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VIDEO: Peyton Manning Throws 400th Touchdown Pass

The Denver Broncos took a 14-13 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third quarter on Sunday night when Peyton Manning threw his 400th career touchdown pass. It was a 71-yard completion to Demaryius Thomas:

Thomas catches it near the line of scrimmage on the left side of the field and then darts and weaves his way through the Steelers defense for another big touchdown. Thomas caught the 80-yard game-winning touchdown pass from Tim Tebow during January's playoff victory over the Steelers.

(Here is an alternative angle of the play.)

Manning now joins Dan Marino and Brett Favre in the 400 Club. Marino has 420 -- a number certainly not out of reach this season -- while Favre is 108 away at 508. Manning has a three-year contract with the Broncos, but surpassing Favre might be a record out of reach for him.

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Broncos Vs. Steelers Halftime Score: Denver Trails Pittsburgh At Home, 10-7

The Pittsburgh Steelers drew first blood in their Sunday night matchup with the Denver Broncos, and they hold a 10-7 haltime lead after Heath Miller scored on a four-yard touchdown pass.

Shaun Suisham connected on a 21-yard field goal with 10:10 left in the second quarter, completing a 10-play, 33-yard drive. The field goal came after Ben Roethlisberger threw three incomplete passes following a Steelers first down at the Denver 3-yard line.

It took little time for the Broncos to respond. Peyton Manning directed his first scoring drive in a Broncos uniform, moving 80 yards in 12 plays. Knowshon Moreno capped the drive with a seven-yard touchdown run.

So far Manning has been effective in running the Denver offense. He has completed 10 of 14 passes for 98 yards. Unfortunately, it took just four minutes and 17 seconds for the Steelers to go 89 yards in 14 plays to score the Miller touchdown, which came with 28 seconds left in the half.

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Peyton Manning Fakes Handoff To Invisible Guy, Runs For First Down

Peyton Manning sure knows how to conduct a fake and then pick up a first down -- by running the ball:

Manningrun_medium

See, it's a play fake to no one! Or maybe it is to the team's invisible 12th man. One can never be to sure when there's no visual evidence.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos Score Update: Denver, Pittsburgh Scoreless After First Quarter

The Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers are locked in a 0-0 tie after the first quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Peyton Manning finished the first quarter 4-of-7 for 44 yards in his first game in over 600 days. He connected with Brandon Stokley for two receptions and 26 yards. The Steelers defense, though, did sack Manning twice for a total loss of 13 yards.

Rookie defensive end Derek Wolfe has shown flashes of brilliance penetrating the Steelers' offensive line. Overall, the Denver defense has held Pittsburgh to 27 total yards. Ben Roethlisberger has 25 of those yards on two passes while Isaac Redman and Chris Rainey have combined for two yards of offense on the ground.

Denver running back Willis McGahee lost a fumble in the first quarter, but the Steelers, obviously, were unable to capitalize on it.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos: Game Time, TV Schedule, Injury Updates And More

Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos open the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football.

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Week 1 NFL Picks: Steelers Vs. Broncos

The Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers are no strangers to one another in 2012: The last time the Broncos won a game Demaryius Thomas caught the game-winning touchdown in the playoffs against the Steelers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. But this time around, Thomas will be catching passes from Peyton Manning, not Tim Tebow.

Manning will be the cog that makes the Broncos go this season. The defense returns Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller while Champ Bailey is covering the secondary once again. Willis McGahee and a stable of running backs are ready to pound the ball on the ground. But is Manning ready to go after missing the entire 2011 season? He's been written about as the comeback player of the year and an MVP candidate -- as long as he's healthy. We'll certainly need more than one week to know where Manning is at in his career.

The Steelers, meanwhile, return with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Mike Wallace, though the later missed camp due to a contract dispute. Running back Rashard Mendenhall has been practicing this week, but he is still unlikely to play as he recovers from his ACL surgery. Linebacker James Harrison's status has grown cloudy, especially after Thursday's failure to practice.

Prediction: Broncos 17, Steelers 14 -- Peyton Manning will have some rust in his first regular season game, but the defense will do just enough to keep Big Ben down. In the end, Matt Prater kicks the go-ahead field goal late in the fourth quarter. It'll be the return of Prater Time!

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NFL Picks Week 1: Experts Giving Broncos A Slight Edge Over Steelers

The Peyton Manning era officially begins Sunday as the Denver Broncos open at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers. For the most part, experts are mostly split on who they're picking to win a rematch game from the Wild Card round of last year's playoffs. Denver won that matchup, 29-23, in overtime.

For that reason — the two teams seemed so evenly matched last season, and that appears to be the case again on paper in 2012 — experts are split with a slight edge to the Broncos.

From SB Nation's Joel Thorman:

Not a bad test for Peyton Manning, who returns to real NFL action. The Broncos were good enough to beat the Steelers in last year's Divisional round of the playoffs and they've seemingly gotten better with the addition of Manning. Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, the Steelers are installing a new offense, Mike Wallace is rusty and there's the usual question of whether the defense is too old.

I'm picking the Broncos, but I can't say I'm all that confident about it.

ESPN's band of 12 NFL experts weighed in, and eight picked the Broncos. Of CBSsports.com's eight experts, five went with the Steelers. Two of three experts at Yahoo! Sports picked Pittsburgh, and four of six at USA Today went with Denver.

The math: Of the 30 experts above described, 17 chose the Broncos.

To find out who was right, watch the Broncos kick off Sunday against Pittsburgh at 6:20 p.m. MT on NBC.

For more news and notes on the Broncos, visit Mile High Report. For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain. Head over to SB Nation's dedicated NFL hub for more happening around the league. Also be sure to check us out on YouTube.

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Peyton Manning Among Broncos Voted Team Captains

The Denver Broncos announced its team captains for the 2012 NFL season and quarterback Peyton Manning has been voted one of the team's five for this season. Offensive guard Chris Kuper, cornerback Champ Bailey, defensive end Elvis Dumervil and linebacker Wesley Woodyard (special teams) are the other captains.

Running back Willis McGahee is an interim captain until Kuper returns from his broken forearm injury, sometime later in September.

Manning is a team captain for the 11th time in his career, Bailey his sixth, Woodyard his fourth. Kuper his third and Dumervil his first.

John Elway is feeling good about his team as it enters the 2012 regular season:

"We’ve got a good group of leaders and veterans on this team, with some young guys that are willing to listen and learn," Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway said on Tuesday. "I like the way the locker room is coming along."

The regular season for the Broncos kicks off on Sunday Night Football this weekend.

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NFL Power Rankings: Broncos Check In At No. 11 In SB Nation's Latest

The 2012 NFL regular season gets underway on Wednesday night with a contest between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants, which means it's time to get in a set of pre-rankings before the play on the field tells us how good (or bad) these teams are. SB Nation's Joel Thorman has released his NFL power rankings on Tuesday morning and the Denver Broncos fall two spots to No. 11 before the season starts.

Thorman writes:

11. Denver Broncos (LW: 9): The big Peyton Manning question. If he's healthy, this is is a top five team. If he's not, it can be in the bottom third of the league. If he plays like a former elite quarterback who hasn't played in over a year, then it will be the 11th best team in the league.

This seems like a fair assessment of the state of the team. The Broncos defense should be solid again, but the team revolves around Manning being healthy. Even if he plays like a "former elite quarterback" making his way back in the league, being the 11th best team in the league isn't bad. It's significantly better than the Kansas City Chiefs, the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders, all ranked in the 20s.

For more news and notes on the Broncos, visit Mile High Report. Check out SB Nation NFL for more happening around the league.

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