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Broncos’ comeback falls short in Atlanta

Denver Broncos v Atlanta Falcons

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 17: Running back Jacquizz Rodgers #32 of the Atlanta Falcons stiff arms outside linebacker Wesley Woodyard #52 of the Denver Broncos during a game at the Georgia Dome on September 17, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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In the end, Peyton Manning had dug himself and the Broncos too big a hole in the first quarter to climb out of before the end of the fourth quarter.

Manning threw three first-quarter interceptions on Monday night in Atlanta, and the Falcons took an early 20-0 lead over the Broncos. And although Manning settled down, played well and appeared to be close to engineering a spectacular fourth-quarter comeback, the Broncos ultimately fell short and lost 27-21.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had a big day, throwing for two touchdown passes, one to Roddy White and one to Anthony Gonzalez, and he protected the Falcons’ early lead by avoiding throwing any interceptions.

Avoiding interceptions was something Manning couldn’t do early. His three interceptions were all bad passes, and he put his team in a major bind. Eventually, Manning became Manning again, and the Broncos got a big day from running back Willis McGahee, and with a few minutes left in the fourth quarter they cut the deficit to six points.

The Falcons, however, ran out the clock with the running of Michael Turner and a key third-down conversion from Ryan to Julio Jones, and Atlanta moved to 2-0.