Peyton shines in Broncos' methodical win over Lions

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  • By Jeremy Bergman NFL.com
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Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense came to life in Motown as Denver topped the winless Lions in a slow, methodical 24-12 victory to remain undefeated.

1. The Broncos' defense continues to be the rock of this team through three weeks. Denver tallied three more takeaways to reach 10 on the season, marking their most through three games in 15 years. Aqib Talib slowed down Calvin Johnson, more or less, and the Lions' running game was nonexistent. The play of the night belonged to David Bruton, who, on a potential Lions scoring drive, tipped a Matthew Stafford pass to himself for a pick -- the quarterback's second of the night -- with less than four minutes to go, and scampered into Lions territory to salt the win away.

Every game, all season

2. Reports of Peyton Manning's demise have been greatly exaggerated, for now. The future Hall of Famer finished with 324 passing yards and two touchdowns with longs of 45 and 34 yards, silencing the critics for at least one more week. Manning grimaced on many of his deep outs, but rarely missed. Many of his best throws were tossed high to his athletic receivers in Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Owen Daniels, making them compensate for his fading strength.

Also for those interested, and perhaps obsessed, with investigating Denver's offensive formations: Peyton lined up in either the shotgun or the pistol on every snap in the game, save for three red zone runs, one of which was Denver's first touchdown on the night. Gary Kubiak has gotten the message, and it appears the Broncos' offense is much better for it.

3. Denver's running game continues to struggle, and now the depth at the position is dwindling. C.J. Anderson went into the locker room in the first half to undergo concussion protocol. Soon after that, Juwan Thompson left with a neck injury. Ronnie Hillman was a mediocre fill-in, finishing with 13 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. The Broncos moved away from the run in the second half, instead focusing on shorter passing routes out of the backfield. It will be interesting to see how Kubiak game plans for the Vikings next week with a short staff at running back.

4. Lions cornerback Darius Slay had a rough night. One might say the Broncos' wideouts took him for a Slay ride... At the end of the first half, Slay was beaten by Thomas on a last-ditch heave by Manning, caught up to the underthrown ball, and was then outmuscled by Thomas, who caught the pass and walked -- backwards -- into the end zone. Not to be outdone, Sanders also posterized Slay with an amazing grab late in the fourth quarter.

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