DENVER -- Quarterback Peyton Manning's first game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High as a Bronco had its ups and downs.
Manning's passing stats in one half of work – 16-of-23 passing for 177 yards – were solid, but the all-important touchdown-to-interception ratio of 0-2 left the quarterback disappointed.
Still, a 12-play, 66-yard drive in which Manning went 8-for-11 for 87 yards as the first half came to a close was enough to give Denver a 10-9 lead against Seattle at halftime.
"I was pretty pleased with the first half," Head Coach John Fox said. "Other than the 0-3 turnover margin, I thought we did pretty good to take the lead 10-9 before the half. You would have liked it to be better as far as the points because we dropped a couple points off with field position. Again, something to build on and something to get better from."
The second half, however, was all Seattle, as the Seahawks scored three unanswered touchdowns for a 30-10 victory.
"It's football," said running back Willis McGahee, who scored the Broncos' only touchdown. "You're not going to have a perfect game all the time. We didn't have a great game this game, but you have to give it up to Seattle."
After the offense's first series ended in a three-and-out, the Broncos' second drive of the game started in prime position at the Seattle 24-yard line thanks to a blocked punt by safety David Bruton. Denver came away empty-handed, however, when Seattle's K.J. Wright intercepted a pass that was tipped at the line. It was the first of three first-half turnovers that prevented a 210-103 yardage advantage from being reflected on the scoreboard.
"Of course you're going to be concerned about turning it over," McGahee said. "Regardless of if it's running with the ball, fumbling or throwing interceptions, you're going to be concerned. It's things that you want to get back and work on come Monday morning."
The story of Manning's first touchdown drive, which started with 5:09 remaining in the first quarter, was the ground game, as the Broncos' 11-play, 80 yard touchdown drive featured seven runs and four passes. McGahee got the drive going with back-to-back 7-yard runs. Later, he finished what he started, finding pay dirt on his third consecutive 1-yard gain from inside Seattle's 5-yard line.
But it was Manning who picked up the bulk of the yardage on the drive, going 4-for-4 for 47 yards, with two completions to wide receiver Brandon Stokley and one apiece to running back Lance Ball and tight end Joel Dreessen. McGahee's touchdown run up the gut gave Denver a 7-3 lead as time expired in the first quarter.
A pair of field goals by Seattle's Steven Hauschka made it 9-7 with 2:44 remaining in the first half.
Taking over at the 20-yard line after a touchback, Manning quickly pushed the ball near midfield with three straight short completions, two to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and one to Ball. Following the two-minute warning, Manning found wide receiver Eric Decker for 19 yards, setting the Broncos up on Seattle's 39-yard line. After an incompletion intended for Dreessen, Manning hooked up with Stokley for 22 yards to set Denver up inside the Seattle red zone at the 17-yard line.
A 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on center J.D. Walton and incompletions intended for tight end Jacob Tamme and Decker forced the drive to stall at the 15-yard line, where Prater knocked home a 32-yarder that gave Denver a 10-9 lead at the break.
"Coach mentioned that, he was like, 'Hey, we turned the ball over and we're still winning the game,'" Dreessen said. "We know we can play better than that. So that is a bright side. We've just got to fix the things we can fix, really."
Seattle's first drive with backup quarterback Russell Wilson under center ended in the first touchdown given up by the Broncos defense this preseason. It was one of three touchdown drives led by Wilson, who finished the game 10-for-17 for 155 yards, including two touchdowns. Wilson also picked up 33 yards rushing on five carries as he helped Seattle's offense roll up 302 second-half yards after it gained only 103 before halftime.
After taking a 16-10 lead on the first drive of the third quarter, Seattle extended its lead to 23-10 on a 34-yard touchdown reception by Tyrell Sutton. The last score of the evening came on an 8-yard touchdown completion from Wilson to Seahawks tight end Cooper Helfet.
Meanwhile, Denver's offense sputtered in the second half. Rookie quarterback Brock Osweiler completed 5 of 11 passes for 38 yards and was sacked once for a loss of six yards. The rest of the offense also had a hard time getting anything going, as five runs netted just five yards.
"I think with how the game ended today, we found out a lot of stuff that we do need to work on," Decker said.
The Broncos will have an opportunity to put the loss behind them when San Francisco comes to Denver next Sunday, with kickoff scheduled for 2 p.m. MDT. Rookie defensive lineman Derek Wolfe said he expects the difficult loss to serve as a valuable learning experience.
"When you have a big win, it sweeps all those bad things you did under the rug," Wolfe said. "When you get beat, though, all those things are exposed. Sometimes it's a blessing in disguise. You never want to lose, but let's just be thankful it was in the preseason and not in the regular season."