On the third play of the drive, facing a third-and-9, Peyton Manning flipped a pass to a diving Wes Welker for a first down. Upon replay, it's clear the ball slipped through Welker's hands. During the NBC broadcast, Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth noted that Baltimore Ravens cornerback Corey Graham immediately told coach John Harbaugh he should challenge it.
On the next play, Manning hit Demaryius Thomas for a 34-yard catch-and-run. Two plays later, Manning threw the third of his record-tying seven touchdowns for a 21-17 Broncos lead. Denver never trailed again.
After the game, Harbaugh said he didn't notice the drop and his team, apparently, didn't see the replay.
"This is the first I've heard of it," Harbaugh said after the game, per The Baltimore Sun. "That's something you have to see. It would be nice if NBC would show it, but we didn't have a chance to look at it."
It's patently untrue to say NBC didn't replay the drop. Immediately after the play ended, the station clearly showed the ball slip through Welker's hands. The bigger issue for Harbaugh was that by the time the replay ended, Manning already had his team at the line ready to snap the ball.
By our count, Welker "caught" the ball at the 14:08 mark of the third quarter and Manning snapped the ball as the clock turned to 13:44 -- 24 seconds. More importantly, the ball was snapped about five seconds after the replay ended, so it's possible the Ravens weren't quick enough to call down to the field.
Harbaugh can blame NBC if he wants. In truth, this play exemplified how masterfully Manning orchestrated the game.