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Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos 9/7/14 NFL Score, Recap, News and Notes

Final Score: Denver Broncos 31, Indianapolis Colts 24

September 7, 2014

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Kicking off the 2014 festivities in Week 1 on “Sunday Night Football” was a nice-looking matchup between the Colts and the Broncos. Indianapolis was coming into this one healthy on offense, and they were looking to prove themselves against Peyton Manning in his new zip code. On the other side, Denver was still trying to shake off an embarrassing Super Bowl loss at the hands of the Seahawks and looking to reassert their dominance among the AFC elite.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the key statistics and important players from this one so that we can get a good idea of why things played out the way they did. Afterward, we’ll look forward to Week 2 and see what each team has in store for the immediate future.

What Happened: Surprisingly enough, there wasn’t much scoring in the first quarter; Brandon McManus nailed a 21-yard field goal with 5:14 left, and that 3-0 score would hold at the end of one.
Denver turned on the jets in the second quarter, rattling off a trio of Julius Thomas touchdown catches from 3, 35 and 5 yards to go up 24-0 late in the half. An Andrew Luck 9-yard TD run would close the gap a little bit, but the Colts went into halftime in a deep hole.
After the break, neither team could get into the end zone. The Colts tacked on a field goal in the third to make it 10-24, but they still had a long way to go.
In the fourth, the Denver ground game got going with a Montee Ball 3-yard TD run to make it 31-10. The Colts would show some life late with a pair of TD passes from Luck to Dwayne Allen and Hakeem Nicks, but it ended up being too little, too late.
The Broncos took a 31-24 victory and asserted themselves as kings of the AFC, while the Colts showed they still have some work to do if they’re going to hang with the top dogs in the conference.

Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos 9/7/14 NFL Score, Recap, News and Notes

USA TODAY Sports

The Stars: Denver doesn’t even really have to run the ball if they don’t want to--even though Ball ended up with 67 yards and a score on 23 carries. With the likes of Manning (269 yards; three touchdowns) and Thomas (seven receptions; 104 yards; three touchdowns), they’re doing just fine through the air. New arrival Emmanuel Sanders posted six receptions for 77 yards as well.
On the other side, Reggie Wayne had a nice game (nine grabs; 98 yards), but couldn’t find the end zone.

The Goats: The formula for beating Manning is pressure (which the Colts couldn’t generate much of) and clock control through the running game on offense. Granted, the team was down big early, but they finished with just 14 carries for 54 yards (and 19 of those were from Luck). Speaking of Luck, he finished with 370 yards, but also notched a pair of interceptions. The Indianapolis defense couldn’t return the favor and generate any turnovers, either.
As for the Broncos, they went 1-for-7 converting third downs in the second half, which keyed the Colts’ rally.

Injuries: A pair of Indy linebackers went down in this one: Cam Johnson hurt his triceps and Jerrell Freeman his hamstring.
On the other side, special teamer David Bruton hurt his shoulder.

Outlook: Both teams have home games in Week 2: The Broncos will welcome the incoming Chiefs for a key divisional battle on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS), while the Colts will play host to the Eagles on Monday night. (8:30 PM ET, ESPN.)

For the latest article updates, follow Andrew on Twitter @SCPAndrew.

 

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