NFL Preseason Week 2: Peyton Manning Sharp In First-Ever Game At Levi’s Stadium In San Francisco

by Michael Drahota | Posted on Sunday, August 17th, 2014 | 0


Today (Sun., August 17, 2014) the defending AFC champion Denver Broncos went into San Francisco to take on the 49ers in the first-ever game at their brand-new Levi’s Stadium.

The game presented one of the first opportunities of the young 2014 season to get a look at Broncos star QB Peyton Manning in action, and the veteran signal caller did not disappoint.

Manning drove the Broncos down the field on the Broncos’ first drive, completing a critical first down throw to veteran wideout Wes Welker on 3rd & 8 before hitting elite star Demaryius Thomas with a screen in 49ers’ territory.

From there, Manning found Thomas once again, advancing the ball down to the 11-yard line. After one more short throw to Thomas, Manning ran for a small gain before missing Andre Caldwell in the left front corner of the end zone. The Broncos settled for a 26-yard Matt Prater field goal.

The 49ers responded well on their second drive, with rookie RB Carlos Hyde getting the tough yards in addition to a few clutch throws from star QB Colin Kaepernick. But the drive sputtered on the Broncos’ 42-yard line, giving Manning another chance at his own 20.

He immediately threw another short pass to Thomas, following with a sideline throw to the Georgia Tech alum. One the best wide receivers in the league saw a high amount of volume early on.

The Broncos then went to the run, getting a first down on two carries by backup RB Ronnie Hillman. A WR screen to Caldwell got a few yards, and third string RB C.J. Anderson looked decent with two carries and a reception.

Manning hit TE Julius Thomas for a big gain down the middle, but the combo lost a couple yards on a follow-up screen. A short pass to Hillman brought up 3rd down, but that was all Manning needed.

He threw a picture perfect strike directly into the end zone, hitting a wide-open Julius Thomas with a core that made the injury-depleted 49er defense look a bit foolish. The touchdown toss capped a 12-play, 80-yard drive that saw Manning complete seven consecutive passes.

Manning continued the precision of his record-setting 2013, where he threw for a staggering 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns, both all-time marks. With one of the best receiving corps in the game, Manning is due for another huge season.

Expecting him to replicate last year’s success is unrealistic, but if anyone can put up mind-boggling stats in the NFL, it’s Manning. Yet that has never been the issue with him; the only knock on Manning would be his tendency to come up short in the biggest games.

You can bet’s he more than intent on proving the Broncos’ Super Bowl loss to the Seahawks a fluke, and if his dissection of the overmatched 49ers is a sign of things to come, Denver may find themselves back in the hunt for the coveted Lombardi Trophy.

About the Author

Both an avid NFL fan and analyst, I’ve been following professional football since the late 1980s. I’m also an avid fantasy football player with several league victories under my belt. Check out my NFL articles on TSM for the latest NFL news, highlights, predictions, and more.

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