ATLANTA — Matt Ryan threw the 100th touchdown pass of his career and the Atlanta Falcons took a 27-21 win over the Denver Broncos and struggling quarterback Peyton Manning on Monday night.
Manning was intercepted three times in the first quarter, only the second time in his career he’s had such an awful opening period. The Falcons raced to a 20-0 lead before Manning finally connected with Demaryius Thomas on a 17-yard TD pass with
6 seconds left in the first half.
Ryan guided the Falcons on a 64-yard drive that put the home team solidly in control heading to the final quarter. He hooked up with Roddy White on consecutive passes of 21 and 20 yards, then went to White on a 4-yarder for the touchdown.
Ryan connected with Tony Gonzalez on a 1-yard TD in the second quarter. The tight end, who has caught the second-most passes in NFL history, was left wide open in the back of the end zone on a crossing route, after his quarterback froze the Broncos defense with a nifty play fake.
The Broncos narrowed the score to 27-21 in the fourth off a pair of 2-yard touchdown runs from Willis McGahee, but Atlanta ran out the clock late.
On the game’s third play from scrimmage, Manning threw into triple coverage to Jacob Tamme, but Falcons strong safety William Moore stepped in front of the tight end for an interception. Moore ran down the left sideline 33 yards before Orlando Franklin tackled him at the 1.
A week after Manning won his Denver debut with a home victory over Pittsburgh, the Broncos had turnovers on four on their first five possessions.
Falcons cornerback Christopher Owens went out in the first quarter with a head injury and was declared out for the rest of the game.