All eyes were on new quarterback Peyton Manning his first game as a Bronco on Sunday night, and by all indications the future Hall of Famer is back to his old ways after leading Denver to a 31-19 victory over the Steelers.
Manning routinely made things difficult on Pittsburgh's defense with his reads at the line of scrimmage, and was in control of his team's offense for the full duration en route to posting 263 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns. Manning's accuracy also appeared to be in mid-season form, as he only tossed seven incompletions.
SB Nation's unofficial Broncos blog, Mile High Report, saw plenty of negatives despite the victory, but left the weekend fully confident about the team after this season-opening victory:
Tonight, however, Peyton Manning put the Steelers, the AFC and all of the NFL on notice that he is back and might be better than ever. After a slow start, Manning used his patented no-huddle offense, along with a quick-strike touchdown to Demaryius Thomas, to beat the Steelers 31-19.
With a trip to Atlanta to come next Monday night, a win over the Steelers was imperative and they found a way to get it done. That is the most important thing, but I'll say this - 2011 was fun, there is no doubt - but not THIS kind of fun.
Manning's touchdown pass to Thomas was a thing of beauty, and there's no denying just how huge it was for the Broncos to rough up a difficult opponent like the Steelers in Week 1. John Fox's offense will face a more comparable test offensively next week against Matt Ryan and the Falcons, but it's clear that Manning is back in business after missing last season.
Head over to Mile High Report for more Broncos coverage, and be sure to visit Behind the Steel Curtain for more on the Steelers. Also check out SB Nation's NFL hub for even more news and analysis from around the league.