SEATTLE- ** Down 17-3 at the end of the third quarter, the Broncos players were visibly frustrated. The defense had made key stops and suppressed the explosive Seahawks as much as they could, but the offense couldn't produce.
But, something seemed to click in the fourth quarter and the Broncos made an epic comeback with two touchdowns and a two-point conversion to tie it with less than 20 seconds to go.
The Broncos got the ball with 59 seconds on the clock and drove the ball 80 yards downfield with no timeouts. Peyton Manning found Jacob Tamme for a 26-yard score.
A drive like that is quite a feat against the Seahawks' impressive defense.
"Last time we got down early in the game and never got anything going so we need to get something going here in the second half, defense had a good turnover, kind of springboard us and got a touchdown there and, like I said, we went 80-something yards, no timeouts with under a minute, it's not easy to do against that defense," Manning said. "Those are the things you take from it, that you get in that situation again, if you get in that situation again, having been here before, you know you can do it. That's what I try to build on things like that."
After the touchdown, the Broncos successfully completed a two-point conversion as Manning found Demaryius Thomas in the back of the end zone. Thomas finished the day with four catches for 31 yards, but he made the big play when it was necessary. He made a great catch on Richard Sherman and was sure to get both feet in for the score.
But the Broncos chose the wrong side of the coin for overtime and Russell Wilson marched his team 80 yards downfield for a game-sealing touchdown.
Manning said when he loses in close games like this, he aims to learn from it. The Broncos defense started the game on a high note, forcing a three-and-out. But on the first play of the Broncos' first possession, Montee Ball made a great run up the middle, nearing a first down, but the ball was knocked out of his hands and was recovered by the Seahawks, setting up a field goal.
Mistakes like that and Manning's inability to find Julius Thomas in the end zone at the end of the Broncos' fantastic second drive are what Manning focuses on after a close loss. He noted that these mistakes, especially the fumble, were crucial and that one had the potential to be a ten-point swing.
"You start going back against this team and you just can't make mistakes like that," Manning said. "It puts you in a hole and it's hard to overcome. We almost overcame them but didn't quite do them today."
The Broncos made a valiant effort in forging a comeback. Early on in the game, the Broncos focused on running the ball, but the Seahawks' increasing lead and an injury to tight end Virgil Green changed the Broncos' game plan.
Manning called Green's injury "significant" and said that it forced the Broncos to change what they were doing formation-wise. He said balance and differentiating personal groupings is key to having success against the reigning Super Bowl champions.
Manning said that adversity forced the offense to become "one-dimensional."
"We changed a little bit once Virgil went out and then of course being down two scores we became somewhat one-dimensional, which is not what you want versus these guys," he said. "The run game just wasn't working for us, especially being down two scores. We were forced to throw it a lot, more than we wanted to every single play and that kind of put us in a one-dimensional phase."
The run game couldn't get going in the game with the Broncos racking up just 26 yards on 20 carries. Manning completed 31-of-49 passes (63.3%) for 303 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
As the Broncos remember vividly from the Super Bowl, they allowed the Seahawks to score very early on a safety. While the result of this rematch wasn't what the Broncos had hoped for, Manning was certainly correct about one thing when comparing this game to the teams' last matchup: "We obviously fell back better this time than last time."