SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- So far so good for Peyton Manning and Co.
After riding a strong performance from the starters to a victory against the Seahawks last week, the Broncos spoiled the unveiling of the 49ers' new stadium Sunday with a 34-0 win at Levi's Stadium.
Manning's performance set the tone for the remainder of the game, as he went 12-of-14 for 102 yards and a touchdown, including 8-of-8 on the team's touchdown drive. A near miss on a throw to Andre Caldwell would have capped the first-team's other possession with a touchdown as well, but 10 points in two series against a tough defense was still impressive.
"I thought we made some improvements from last week," Manning said. "That's kind of what [Head Coach John Fox] stressed to the team last week was try to make some improvements and get better in certain phases. I thought we did that certainly offensively."
Just like last week -- when they connected five times for 52 yards against the Seahawks -- Manning's chemistry with Demaryius Thomas was apparent. Manning found Thomas five times for 37 yards Sunday, including a 20-yard gain on 3rd-and-3 during Denver's first series.
"I threw him a couple short passes but he does a good job of getting five yards here, seven yards," Manning said. "Obviously a quarterback likes that, when you've got a big target that can get yards after the catch."
Manning also rekindled another popular connection from last year with another Thomas, tight end Julius
Thomas, that is. Manning looked his way three times in four plays on the team's second possession. The results included a 19-yard gain to approach the red zone and a 17-yard touchdown on a post route to cap the drive.
"He's a threat to get down the middle and it's nice when you have a guy with that speed to get down the field," Manning said.
Against two of the NFL's stingiest defenses, the first-team offense has now scored on 3-of-4 drives with Manning going 22-of-27 for 182 yards and a touchdown, good for a 107.1 quarterback rating.
Perhaps the least successful play the Broncos ran Sunday was a quarterback draw where Manning picked up one yard inside the 49ers 10-yard line. Manning called it a "tendency-breaker."
"It's probably not high on their alert gameplan sheet – watch for the quarterback run," he said, laughing. "I thought I was going to score and I got one yard, so it was a little bit humbling."
That play aside, the offense's success through two weeks of the preseason has to be encouraging, with the unit looking like it's in midseason form. The offensive line provided excellent protection once again, and the offense also cleaned up the penalties from last week, avoiding a single flag against them while the first-team was playing.
With three days of joint-practices against the Texans on the horizon before Saturday's game against Houston, No. 18 is pleased with the progess that's been made.
"Going against their defense is a big test for our offense," Manning said of the Texans. "I think there's something to learn from each preseason game you have."
"It's been a good start. That's all it is though. We've still got some things we've got to improve on."