SEATTLE --When Peyton Manning left the field late in the second quarter, the Broncos had nearly doubled the Seattle Seahawks' time-of-possession.
The offense had racked up 217 total yards of offense, including an 11-of-16 passing performance by Manning for 163 yds and a touchdown, good for a quarterback rating of 122.7.
Yet the Seahawks led 27-7 -- and eventually 33-7 at the half.
"Yeah, its huge plays," Head Coach John Fox said at halftime of the deficit. "We had a couple big returns -- a kickoff as well as the punt return that set up a score -- minus-three (in the turnover battle), that results in all the points. So we have to clean up as far as ball security."
On second-and-goal from the 1-yard line, running back Ronnie Hillman fumbled into the end zone and Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner recovered the football. But he didn't take a knee, instead running 106 yards the other direction for a touchdown. That and a 107-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by wide receiver Jermaine Kearse didn't help the Broncos' cause.
The Seahawks' only offensive touchdown en route to the 27-7 lead came on the club's opening drive, when quarterback Russell Wilson took the team 65 yards down the field and found Kearse for a 12-yard touchdown.
On the play prior to the score, defensive end Derek Wolfe was injured on a run by Robert Turbin. Wolfe was placed on a stretcher and carried off the field in an ambulance. He was evaluated for a cervical spine injury and had movement in all of his extremities.
"So far the reports we've gotten are positive in the sense that there are no broken bones," Fox said at halftime. "CT scan was positive and right now we're waiting on an MRI so, so far all the news is good."
The Seahawks' other two drives in that span were far shorter -- one five-play and one four-play drive. But thanks to a Julius Thomas fumble and a long punt return, respectively, prior to the start of the drives, both resulted in field goals.
Manning's scoring drive lasted nine plays and spanned 80 yards. He went back to Thomas for two key plays on the drive -- an 18-yard reception for a first down and a 31-yard catch to put Denver in the red zone. Wes Welker finished up the series with his first touchdown catch as a Bronco -- an 11-yarder that made the score 10-7 in favor of the Seahawks at the time.
A mix of starters on both sides of the ball remained in the game for the duration of the first half. A Brock Osweiler fumble gave the Seahawks the ball on the Denver 38-yard line with just less than two minutes remaining in the second quarter.
After a Tony Carter interception was nullified by an offsides penalty with 1:35 left in the quarter, Wilson and the Seahawks capped their final first-half drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Sean McGrath to move the score to 33-7 -- kicker Steven Hauschka missed the extra point.
On offense, the Broncos started Chris Clark, Zane Beadles, Manny Ramirez, Louis Vasquez and Orlando Franklin on the line. Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker lined up at receiver, Julius Thomas was the lone tight end and Hillman lined up beside Manning in the backfield.
The starting defense was comprised of Robert Ayers, Mitch Unrein, Terrance Knighton and Wolfe on the line. Wesley Woodyard, Stewart Bradley and Von Miller were the linebackers and Champ Bailey, Chris Harris, Rahim Moore and Duke Ihenacho made up the secondary.
Vasquez left the game with a left knee injury, and Bailey's "foot (was) bothering him," so the cornerback left the game just before halftime as well.
Hillman led the team with 34 rushing yards in the half, while rookie Montee Ball added 28. Julius Thomas was the half's leading receiver with 70 yards, and Demaryius Thomas was next in line with 52. Woodyard and Bailey tied for the lead with four tackles, and Woodyard added a sack.
"Like I said, we a had kickoff return and a long punt return that resulted in points," Fox said at halftime. "Those areas we'll look at and learn from and we'll evalute some of the personnel and move forward."