Third-and-12 from the Denver 12: Peyton Manning’s pass intended for tight end Jacob Tamme was intercepted by Falcons safety William Moore and returned 33 yards to the Denver 1-yard line. Three plays later, running back Michael Turner jumped over the pile and crossed the goal line to give Atlanta the early lead.
Second-and-11 from the Denver 27: For the second time in the team’s first two possessions, Manning’s pass was intercepted by a Falcons safety. Thomas DeCoud came down with the deep pass and returned it 15 yards to the Broncos 43-yard line. Denver’s defense held Atlanta to one first down on its ensuring drive and the Falcons settled for a Matt Bryant field goal.
First-and-10 from the Atlanta 40: With the Broncos driving into Falcons territory, Manning’s pass again wound up in the wrong hands. This time it was Robert McClain who picked off the deep pass and returned it to the Atlanta 47-yard line, ending a potential scoring drive.
Third-and-9 from the Atlanta 48: Following the third interception, Atlanta had the ball with prime field position to add to its lead. On third down, safety Mike Adams tipped Matt Ryan’s pass, forcing it to fall harmlessly to the turf. The officials threw a flag for defensive pass interference, but Head Coach John Fox challenged the call, which would eventually be overturned to force a fourth-down punt.
First-and-10 from the Atlanta 45: After starting with solid field position of its own, the Denver offense turned over the football for the fourth time in the opening quarter. Running back Knowshon Moreno fumbled the football and after much discussion, it was ruled that Atlanta had recovered. The Falcons converted that turnover into another Bryant field goal to go ahead 20-0 early in the second quarter.