The Broncos were able to strike first in the first matchup between the teams since 2008. QB Peyton Manning orchestrated an 11-play, 98 yard drive after being pinned down deep in Broncos’ territory by WR Courtney Roby following a 52-yard punt by P Thomas Morstead. Denver capped off the drive with a one-yard rush by RB Willis McGahee and K Matt Prater made the extra point to give the Broncos a 7-0 lead with 4:39 remaining in the first quarter.
The Broncos advanced the ball into New Orleans territory again later in the first quarter but turned the ball over to New Orleans. McGahee rushed to the left side on third down and was stopped by rookie DT Akiem Hicks who forced a fumble that was recovered by LB Curtis Lofton at the New Orleans 45-yard line.
Brees then completed three straight passes including a 16-yard strike to WR Marques Colston and a 7-yard completion to WR Lance Moore. Then, to start the second period, Brees found RB Darren Sproles on a completion and Sproles took the ball 29-yards for a New Orleans score. Hartley made the extra point to tie the game, 7-7.
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