From Comcast SportsNetDENVER (AP) -- That's the Peyton Manning the Denver Broncos and their fans have been waiting all summer to see. Magnificent. A machine. On the money. And no longer just a memory.Manning was close to perfect in his final regular-season tuneup Sunday, throwing his first two touchdown passes for the Denver Broncos in a 29-24 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.In less than a quarter of work, Manning completed 10 of 12 passes for 122 yards, including TD tosses of 10 and 5 yards to Eric Decker, and the only two misses were a dropped pass by Joel Dreessen and an errant throw to Brandon Stokley, who was held on the play but didn't draw the flag.After managing one TD to go with four turnovers in his first seven possessions this preseason, Manning drove the Broncos (1-2) to scores on all three of his series, then put on his visor with 46 seconds left in the first quarter after staking Denver to a 17-0 lead."I thought we did some good things today," Manning said. "We moved the ball pretty well and we got two touchdowns. It would have been nice to get three, had to settle to for a field goal. I thought the running game was good. Willis (McGahee) made some nice runs, had some nice holes by the offensive line, the receivers made some nice plays, as well."The Broncos finally showed more than just a glimpse of the offensive firepower they can have with the four-time MVP under center."I think it was nice just to start fast and finish off some drives and put some points on the board and play some good football," Stokley said. "I think that was more important than him throwing the first touchdown pass."The Broncos (No. 10 in the AP Pro32) mixed up their looks, throwing in some no-huddle with four-wide receiver sets, using fullback Chris Gronkowski at the point of attack and sending tailback Lance Ball out wide to run routes like a receiver."That's what this preseason is for. You want to win the game but you want to get a look at different players," Manning said. "No matter what grouping we were in we showed we could move the ball."Alex Smith threw a 49-yard TD pass and David Akers kicked five field goals for the Niners (2-1), who outscored the Broncos' backups 19-0 in the second half but lost wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. to an ankle injury early in the second half.For the second straight week, the Broncos' backups were awful. They've now been outscored 40-0 after halftime in the last two games.Denver's first drive stalled when the replacement officials failed to whistle cornerback Carlos Rogers for a blatant hold on a third-down pass to Stokley, and the Broncos settled for Matt Prater's 53-yard field goal.Manning was money after that.He completed all six of his passes for 83 yards on a long drive that ended with his first touchdown throw in orange and blue, a 10-yard strike to Decker, who beat Rogers across the middle. The highlight of drive was a 38-yard pass to Ball, who beat linebacker Larry Grant.Ball, though, bruised his ribs on the play and didn't return. He said afterward he was fine.So was Manning, who was blasted by linebacker Parys Haralson in the chest right as he released his longest pass of the preseason. After Ball came down with it, Manning bounced right up, raced downfield, lined up in the no-huddle and hit running back Willis McGahee for 14 yards to the San Francisco 12.It was the second time Manning, who missed all of last season with a neck injury that required four operations, had been hit hard in the preseason, and both times shook off the cobwebs and responded with a big pass for the first down."The offense was excited to move the ball," Manning said. "We had some rhythm, we huddled today yet we still played at an up-tempo pace."Linebacker Wesley Woodyard recovered a fumbled snap for the Broncos (No. 10 in the AP Pro 32) at the San Francisco 24, and four plays later, Manning found Decker wide open by the back left pylon for his second touchdown and a 17-0 lead over the 49ers (No. 4).The Broncos' onside kick backfired when Matthew Willis touched the ball about a yard early, and Smith found tight end Vernon Davis all alone along the left sideline for a 49-yard score on the next snap."I was surprised," Niners coach Jim Harbaugh said of the Broncos' onside kick in the preseason. "But I'm glad they did it. It's good for us because you always have to be aware of it."Manning said he'd have gone out for another series had the Broncos recovered the onside kick. When they didn't, his day was done."I feel very comfortable where he is and rather than put him out there in harm's way, we took him out," Broncos coach John Fox said.Caleb Hanie, locked in a backup battle with rookie Brock Osweiler to serve as Manning's primary understudy, underthrew Decker and former Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox intercepted at midfield. That led to Akers' first field goal, from 33 yards out. Hanie bounced back to throw a 5-yard TD pass to Dreessen that made it 24-10 at halftime."I don't want to say it's just the preseason because this is a time to get better," Niners linebacker Ahmad Brooks said. "It's a time you can really showcase what your team is capable of doing. I don't know but it's been a scary start to this point."Smith finished 5 of 7 for 69 yards, and his pocket of protection was much better than it had been during the preseason."It was a little hard to get in a rhythm," Smith said, who was sacked just once. "I thought the young guys did a great job in the second half. We have some stuff to clean up obviously."San Francisco's ground game, which had gained an NFL-best 378 yards through the first two weeks of the preseason, was stymied by the Broncos. With LaMichael James (left ankle) and Brandon Jacobs (left knee) sitting this one out, the 49ers were held to 14 yards on nine first-half carries, including two runs for minus-4 yards by Frank Gore.That all changed after halftime as the Niners finished with 139 yards rushing. Anthony Dixon had a 26-yard TD run and Akers kicked field goals of 45, 21, 32 and 44 yards while the Broncos sputtered once again with Manning on the sideline.Notes: Manning's passer rating of 148.6 was nearly 100 points higher than what it was (48.8) in the first two preseason games. ... Broncos rookie RB Ronnie Hillman made his preseason debut after dealing with a pulled right hamstring and gained 29 yards on 10 carries. "I'll plan on playing better next week and playing a lot faster," Hillman said. ... X-rays were negative on Ginn's right ankle. ... Rookie CB Omar Bolden bruised his left knee.
NFL players took to Twitter on Saturday to send well-wishes to Andrew Luck after news broke that he is retiring from the NFL.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Luck was 'mentally worn out' after years of battling injuries. Luck confirmed the news in an emotional press conference on Saturday night.
"Andrew luck I understand you 100% brotha," wrote Dez Bryant. "... take your time ... I wish you the best."
Andrew luck I understand you 100% brotha... take your time... I wish you the best— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) August 25, 2019
I been speaking on how I feel for a long time...it takes somebody like Andrew luck for y’all to respect it... https://t.co/JAQnVBvorq— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) August 25, 2019
Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins reacted to the news with emojis.
Wow... always enjoyed playing against him since high school! Wish him the best. https://t.co/J3MqtXQZtN— Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) August 25, 2019
Former player turned ESPN analyst Emmanuel Acho posted video of Colts fans booing Luck as he walked into the locker room. "Coach always said, 'the pats on the back eventually turn into stabs,'" he wrote.
"That's bad to boo that man," added former Redskins player Chris Baker.
Colts fans boo-ing Andrew Luck as he walks into the Lockeroom.— Emmanuel Acho (@thEMANacho) August 25, 2019
Coach always said, “the pats on the back eventually turn into stabs” pic.twitter.com/awT6yHCikY
That’s bad to boo that man https://t.co/13qVB8FHIl— Chris Baker (@cbakerswaggy) August 25, 2019
Former Ravens and current Carolina player Torrey Smith tweeted that anyone in the sport understands.
Any athlete in any sport that has had a major injury understands exactly where Andrew Luck is mentally— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) August 25, 2019
All of you NFL FANS, would you consider Andrew Luck a bust?? The NFL, all the pundits, and even I thought he was a can’t miss. You never know!!! Let me hear your comments. The best ability is AVAILABILITY!! Mentally drained???? #NFL #football #toughgame #toughguys #QB— Brian Mitchell (@BMitchliveNBCS) August 25, 2019
The one time I played Andrew Luck he came up to me after the game and said “hey 51 I love the way you play” one of the best compliments I have ever received. Happy retirement 12— Kyle Emanuel (@KyleEmanuel51) August 25, 2019
Jaguars long snapper Matt Overton wrote he was "shook."
I’m literally shook right now https://t.co/NwxoKQJp0v— Matt Overton (@MattOverton_LS) August 25, 2019
At a loss for words.— Matt Overton (@MattOverton_LS) August 25, 2019
We love you Andrew 🙏
Just listened to Lucks retirement. I am shocked just as you are but I 100% understand, support & applaud. We play a kids game for a living & there is a wonderful life to be lived outside of football. Thank you Andrew for being a warrior & being a great teammate. Love you brother.— Matt Overton (@MattOverton_LS) August 25, 2019
MORE NFL NEWS:
- High Praise: Jackson had best 21-year-old QB year ever
- Stock Report: Up and down after Week 3
- What We Learned: 3 from Week 3
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Andrew Luck watched one last game from the sideline Saturday.
Then he said goodbye to the NFL.
The Indianapolis Colts quarterback heard boos as he walked away from the field, then walked to the podium and made the surprise decision official. The oft-injured star is retiring at age 29.
"I am going to retire," he said. "This is not an easy decision. It's the hardest decision of my life. But it is the right decision for me."
Luck said the repeated injuries, the lingering pain and continual rehab took away his love for the game.
Word first leaked about Luck's plans during the fourth quarter of Saturday's 27-17 loss to the Chicago Bears when ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported Luck felt mentally worn down and had met with team owner Jim Irsay to inform him of his decision.
Luck has most recently struggled to recover from a lower left leg injury.
Luck's former coach Chuck Pagano made his first return to Lucas Oil Stadium since he was fired as the Colts' head coach following the 2017 season. Luck did not play that season because he was recovering from surgery on his throwing shoulder.
He returned last season and led the Colts back to the playoffs for the first time in four years, winning the league's Comeback Player of the Year award.
But in March, he suffered a strained left calf, was held out of all of the team's offseason workouts and returned on a limited basis for three practices at training camp in July. Lingering pain forced him back to the sideline and the Colts later determined that he had an injury near the back of his left ankle.
Coach Frank Reich had said he hoped to have an answer about Luck's availability for the Sept. 8 season opener after the third preseason game. This might not have been the one he wanted -- and certainly didn't expect.
Jacoby Brissett now inherits the starting job.