Defensive tackle Justin Bannan forced Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco to fumble on a quarterback sneak on third-and-1, giving the Broncos possession at their own 47-yard line after the recovery by safety Rahim Moore.
Denver started the ensuing drive with a 5-yard completion from quarterback Peyton Manning to wide receiver Eric Decker. The Broncos moved the chains when running back Ronnie Hillman picked up six yards, putting the ball on the Baltimore 42-yard line. From there, Manning found decker again, this time for a 9-yard pickup.
After a short run and a pair of incompletions, the Broncos converted a third-and-10 when Manning completed a 14-yard pass to a leaping Brandon Stokley along the sideline.
Facing first-and-10 from the Broncos’ 17-yard line, a penalty, an 8-yard completion to tight end Joel Dreessen and a short pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas brought up third-and-7 for the Broncos. Manning’s pass to Thomas was complete, but Thomas was brought down short of the marker, bringing on kicker Matt Prater for a 27-yard field goal try.
Prater knocked it through the uprights to give his team a 3-0 lead with 7:16 remaining in the first quarter. Prater is now 22-for-27 on the year.
The drive covered 44 yards in 11 plays and took 4:56 off the clock.