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Peyton Manning solid for Broncos despite flat stats

It wasn't a big hit, but it counts. After Peyton Manning threw an incomplete pass during the second quarter of Saturday night's 30-10 preseason loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the four-time NFL MVP was knocked to the ground by a defender.

The Denver crowd let loose a small cheer. Seriously. They just wanted to get Manning's first hit out of the way, too, and they were happy to see Manning pop right up.

So how did Manning actually look?

Manning played an entire half, and the numbers don't sparkle: 16-of-23 passing for 177 yards and two interceptions. But the statistics don't really tell the story. There were at least two ugly drops by Broncos receivers, including what should have been a touchdown by Jacob Tamme. There was a long touchdown march with nice timing throws, and a vintage Manning two-minute drill. He even chewed out his teammates for some sloppy play, just like old times.

Manning's first interception came on a tipped pass at the line of scrimmage. That was bad luck, although there have been a lot of tipped passes for him in the preseason. His second interception was his worst throw of the night. It was a wobbly mistake that went nowhere near its intended target. That pick came just a few plays after Manning tried to go vertical and overthrew his receiver.

So that's what the discussion point will be this week. Manning hasn't looked that comfortable going down the field yet. Other than that, he sure looks a lot like the old Peyton Manning.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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