INDIANAPOLIS — Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis did not go so well.
On his first trip back to Lucas Oil Stadium, the Broncos fell flat.
The man who replaced Manning looked sharp. Andrew Luck threw three touchdowns and ran one in for a score Sunday night and the Colts handed Denver its first loss of the season.
The Broncos jumped out to a 14-10 lead in the 2nd quarter, but the game shifted when Robert Mathis blew by offensive lineman Chris Clark and sacked Manning, causing a fumble which led to a safety.
The Colts scored a touchdown on the next drive and never lost the lead.
The Broncos did find a way to come back and cut it to six points in the 4th quarter, but a Manning interception in the 4th quarter and a Ronnie Hillman fumble at the goal line put it out of reach.
“This is a game we need to learn from,” Manning said. “We, I guess, had four turnovers and still somehow had a chance to win that game. I certainly would have liked to have seen it go to a 2-point game down at the end, but we never got there. We certainly have to improve because we weren’t as sharp execution-wise as we would like to be.”
Manning finished the game with 386 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception.
The Broncos defense struggled in a number of ways. Not only did they have a hard time stopping Luck, but penalties were a problem. Also, veteran cornerback Champ Bailey left the game in the second quarter with a left foot injury. It could be the same injury that made the Pro Bowler miss the first five weeks of the season.
Denver is now 6-1 overall and are 2nd in the AFC West trailing the 7-0 Chiefs.
“Hopefully we’ll have a chance to play these guys again because that would mean we made the playoffs,” Manning said. “I think if there is a next time it may be a little bit easier just because it was somewhat of an emotional week and it can be a little bit draining, I will say that.”
The Broncos will host the Washington Redskins October 27th at 2:25 MST. That game will be aired on Fox31 Denver.