Week 1, 2012 season: Broncos 31, Steelers 19
The Manning Era began with just a taste of what was to come.
In his first game with the team, Manning helped Denver overcome a fourth-quarter deficit and finished with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
In addition to being his first game as a Bronco, it was also his first NFL game in over a year after a neck injury cost him the entire 2011 season. Such a long recovery allowed an element of doubt to creep in for some analysts and spectators during that time, but Manning’s two-touchdown performance showed he had plenty of football left to play.
“Knowing the guy, what kind of competitor he is, I never doubted for once that he wouldn’t be playing again,” Stokley said. “I knew he’d be back.”
Week 5, 2013 season: Broncos 51, Cowboys 48
In one of the most entertaining games of Manning’s career, he and the Broncos went down to the wire against Tony Romo and the Cowboys in high-powered duel. Manning threw for 414 yards, four touchdowns and one interception, but the most memorable part of the day came when he fooled the entire Cowboys defense (and maybe the whole crowd) on a fake handoff that he then ran in himself on a naked bootleg.
Week 7, 2013 season: Colts 39, Broncos 33
After an emotional exit from Indianapolis in 2012, Manning returned for the first time in 2013 as the undefeated Broncos traveled to Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts and their fans gave him a warm welcome with a tribute video played over the Jumbotron, and he in turn waved to the crowd and thanked them for their support. Manning had a strong showing at his old home with three touchdowns and 386 yards, but it wasn’t enough for a win.
2013 AFC Championship: Broncos 26, Patriots 16
After a disappointing playoff performance a year before from the Broncos as a whole, Manning helped return the franchise to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1998 season with a 400-yard, two-touchdown day against longtime foe Tom Brady and his Patriots team.
2015 AFC Championship: Broncos 20, Patriots 18
Manning and the Broncos punched their ticket for a second Super Bowl two years later with another hard-fought win over the Patriots. Manning helped lead the Broncos to an early lead with two touchdowns to Owen Daniels, but Brady mounted a furious second-half comeback attempt that fell just short when a two-point conversion try was intercepted.