Even while he was trying to tamp down expectations, Peyton Manning couldn't have envisioned this scene playing out.
Three times, the Broncos quarterback dropped back to pass. Three times, he threw into a seam near the numbers down the right side of the field.
Three times, a defensive back followed Manning's eyes, cut over and turned whatever small opening the quarterback had seen into an interception.
All that in the first quarter alone. Those early interceptions against Atlanta on Monday night matched the most turnover-riddled quarter of football Manning has played in his 15-year career. They put Denver into too big of a hole to dig out of in what turned into a 27-21 loss.
Asked after the game if the interceptions had more to do with his surgically repaired neck or his decision making, Manning wasted no time.
''Decision making,'' he said.
But there was some zip missing on some of those intermediate-distance passes and there were a few wobblers mixed in there, as well, includi...