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Preseason Week 3: 49ers 29, Broncos 24

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The starters looked sharp for the Denver Broncos in yesterday’s 29-24 preseason loss to the San Francisco 49ers at Sports Authority Field. Peyton Manning completed 10 of 12 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Broncos to a 17-0 lead. Denver wraps up its preseason schedule this Thursday night in Phoenix.

Manning was finished after three possessions. Quarterback Caleb Hanie closed the first half with a touchdown throw to give the Broncos a 24-10 halftime lead. By the end of the afternoon, however, the Broncos had fallen to the San Francisco 49ers 29-24.

“I’m never really happy losing ever, but I thought our firsts looked pretty sharp and I think we made great strides this week,” Head Coach John Fox said.

Manning got the offense going early, stringing together an eight-play drive that culminated in a 53-yard Matt Prater field goal. From there, he completed his next eight passes for 86 yards over his second and third drives, both of which ended with touchdown passes to wide receiver Eric Decker.

On his first scoring drive, which spanned nine plays, Manning hit Lance Ball on a pass that landed right in the running back’s arms down the sideline for a 38-yard gain, even as the quarterback was hit hard by 49ers linebacker Parys Haralson. On the very next play, Manning hit McGahee for a 14-yard gain. Two plays later, Manning’s found Decker in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown — his first as a Bronco.

The first-team defense held up its end of the bargain as well, limiting the 49ers to just 83 yards and three first downs — compared to Denver’s 16 — in the first half.

Defensive end Elvis Dumervil notched a sack, linebacker Joe Mays laid a big hit on quarterback Alex Smith and Wesley Woodyard recovered a fumbled snap on the very next play, which set up Manning’s second touchdown pass.

In the second half, the 49ers scored 19 unanswered points — a 26-yard touchdown run by running back Anthony Dixon followed by four Akers field goals — taking the lead at the start of the fourth quarter and never relinquishing it.

In just four days, the Broncos take on the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium to close out the preseason.

Historically, starters don’t see much playing time — if any — in the preseason finale. So while some thought will go to the regular-season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the club knows there’s still plenty to get accomplished in the preseason.

Tickets are available for the season opener at Sports Authority Field vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, and can be purchased by calling (800) 745-3000, or click here.

[DenverBroncos.com]

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