DENVER — Peyton Manning threw two touchdown passes, including the 400th of his career as Denver beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-19 on Sunday in his Broncos debut.
Manning hit Demaryius Thomas on a 71-yard strike for his 400th TD pass.
Manning joins Brett Favre (508) and Dan Marino (420) as the only NFL quarterbacks to reach that milestone. He’s also needed the fewest games to do so. This was Manning’s 209th game, while it took Favre 228 games and Marino 227.
On the touchdown, Thomas caught the ball between defenders and then simply took off. No one could catch him. It gave Denver a 14-13 lead.
Manning was 19 of 26 for 255 yards and no interceptions.
The Steelers looked as if they had regained the lead after Thomas’ catch with 24 seconds left in the third quarter when Jonathan Dwyer scampered in from 11 yards. But after review it was ruled his knee touched the field at the 2.
Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ offense were highly proficient early, especially on third downs as they converted 11 of 16 chances. But they struggled to get the ball into the end zone, settling for two field goals by Shaun Suisham.
Just before halftime, Roethlisberger found his tight end Heath Miller over the middle and Miller simply walked into the end zone for a 4-yard score with 28 seconds remaining in the half. The Steelers converted on four third downs during the 14-play scoring drive.
Earlier in the second quarter, Denver’s Knowshon Moreno bounced outside for a 7-yard TD run. Manning was magnificent on Denver’s scoring drive, completing 6 of 7 passes for 54 yards. He also flashed some speed as he scrambled for 7 yards.