First-and-10 from the Denver 33, 14:10 to play in the first quarter: Quarterback Peyton Manning and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas set the tone early with their first connection of the day – a 23-yard gain that took the Broncos to the Cleveland 44-yard line on their opening drive. Five plays later, the pair struck again on a 22-yard touchdown pass that gave Denver an early 7-0 lead.
Third-and-9 from the Denver 9, 4:40 to play in the first quarter: With the Browns driving deep in Denver territory, the defense came up with a third-down stop when safety Mike Adams knocked the pass from Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden away from its intended target – wide receiver Josh Cooper. The Browns settled for a field goal, making the score Broncos 7, Browns 3 early in the game.
Third-and-6 from the Cleveland 25, 13:53 to play in the second quarter: Facing a third down for the third time on the drive, the Broncos moved the chains with a 14-yard completion from Manning to wide receiver Eric Decker. After a 1-yard run by fullback Jacob Hester and an incomplete pass, Manning again hit Decker, this time for a 10-yard touchdown that gave Denver a 14-3 lead.
Third-and-7 from the Cleveland 10, :21 to play in the second quarter: With a chance to extend the Broncos’ lead before halftime, Manning’s pass was intercepted by Browns safety Usama Young in the end zone.
Fourth-and-2 from the Denver 36, 12:36 to play in the third quarter: The Broncos came up with a special-teams takeaway when Browns returner Josh Cribbs muffed a punt and running back Lance Ball pounced on the fumble. After a pass interference penalty against Cleveland in the end zone, the Broncos scored on a 1-yard run by Hester to take a 31-6 lead.