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Top 10 Offensive Plays of the First Half


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- **The first half of the 2013 season is in the books, and the Broncos are 7-1.

With the team on its bye week, we at decided to take a look back at the top 10 plays of the first half of the season on offense and defense, and the top five plays on special teams.

Without further ado, here's the list as we saw it:

10. Eric Decker's 61-yard pickup

WHEN: Week 3, Broncos vs. Raiders

WHAT: The Oakland Raiders had just scored on a 73-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Terrelle Pryor to wide receiver Denarius Moore. Now up just 10 points, the Broncos wanted to respond on their second drive of the second quarter. Decker helped the offense do just that on first down. Quarterback Peyton Manning dropped back and fired to Decker on the right sideline. An Oakland defender jumped in front to try to intercept the pass, but Decker hauled it in, turned around and had nothing but green grass in front of him. He wove in and out of defenders for a 61-yard gain, and three plays later the Broncos reached the end zone.

9. Julius Thomas' touchdown in Dallas

WHEN:Week 5, Broncos at Cowboys

WHAT:Early in Week 5, the Broncos quickly fell behind by two scores to the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Down 14 points with a little more than three minutes remaining in the first quarter, Manning and the offense got to work. In just two plays, the Broncos went from their own 20-yard line to the Cowboys' 4. From there, Julius Thomas finished off the drive. Manning hit the tight end with a shovel pass, and he ran into the end zone untouched to put the Broncos on the board.

8. Andre Caldwell's go-ahead score

WHEN:Week 1, Broncos vs. Ravens

WHAT:Somewhat easy to forget in the midst of the Broncos' 7-1 start is the fact that the team didn't hold a lead in the first half of the season opener. The back-and-forth affair saw the Ravens twice take a touchdown lead and end the first half up three. Everything changed in the third quarter, and it all started with Andre Caldwell. Denver opened the second half with the ball, and proceeded to drive 80 yards in six plays on the drive. The final play was a Manning pss down the left sideline to a streaking Caldwell, who hauled in the 28-yard catch for Denver's first lead of the game. It was a lead the team wouldn't surrender the remainder of the contest en route to a 49-27 win.

7. Moreno's Touchdown Reception

WHEN: Week 8, Broncos vs. Redskins

WHAT:After falling behind by 14 points in the second half, the Broncos battled back to tie the game at 21-21 in the fourth quarter. Knowshon Moreno provided the go-ahead touchdown on Denver's next possession. A 15-yard Redskins punt gave Denver the ball at the Washington 35-yard line. It took Manning and Moreno just one play to capitalize on that field position. The quarterback hit the running back on a screen play, and thanks to nice blocking downfield, Moreno sprinted down the sideline, cutting back in-field at the last second to find his way into the end zone. The 35-yard score made it 28-21, a lead the Broncos wouldn't surrender.

6. Julius Thomas' second Baltimore touchdown

WHEN:Week 1, Broncos vs. Ravens

WHAT:Julius Thomas' breakout performance opened the season. He opened Denver's scoring with a 24-yard touchdown catch to tie the game at 7-7, and in the second quarter, the Broncos found themselves trailing 14-7. On first-and-20, Manning found Thomas for a 44-yard gain, putting the Broncos just outside the red zone. On the very next play, Thomas finished the job, hauling in a 23-yard touchdown pass from Manning and avoiding a tackle inside the 5-yard line in the process to tie the game again at 14-14. His second touchdown was part of a five-catch, 110-yard day.

5. Demaryius Thomas' one-hander

WHEN:Week 4, Broncos vs. Eagles

WHAT:The Philadelphia Eagles were within one possession at halftime in Week 4, but Denver received the third-quarter kickoff and capitalized. In nine plays, the Broncos drove 79 yards to the 1-yard line. On the 10th play of the possession -- first-and-goal -- Manning lofted a pass to Demaryius Thomas in the back right corner of the end zone, and the receiver corralled it with one hand to put the Broncos ahead 28-13. It was part of 38 unanswered Broncos points.

4. Julius Thomas' above-the-head touchdown

WHEN:Week 7, Broncos at Colts

WHAT:Trailing 10-7, the Broncos offense took over near midfield thanks to a 56-yard Trindon Holliday punt return. In a drive that spanned the first and second quarters, the Broncos ultimately faced a third down at the Indianapolis 12-yard line. Manning threw toward his tight end in the middle of the field, and Julius Thomas reached up for the grab, battling a Colts defender in the process. The tight end got both feet in bounds with his hands above his head for the touchdown, and the Colts defender ended up against the wall behind the end zone.

3. Welker's crisp route

WHEN:Week 5, Broncos at Cowboys

WHAT:Just like the week before, the Broncos' opponent pulled to within a possession at halftime in Week 5, but the Broncos started the second half with the ball. Holliday returned the third-quarter kickoff to the 33-yard line, and Denver proceeded to drive to the 2-yard line in 12 plays. On the 13th play of the drive, wide receiver Wes Welker ran to the front of the end zone and faked like he would sprint to the pylon before turning around and running back the other direction. Manning found him between two defenders, and Welker held on for the score.

2. Manning keeps it himself

WHEN:Week 5, Broncos at Cowboys

WHAT:The Broncos had just taken their first lead of the game in Dallas, 21-17, and the defense forced a Cowboys three-and-out. Denver's offense made it all the way to the Dallas 1-yard line and faced a third-and-goal. Manning faked a handoff and rolled to his left, fooling the entire Cowboys defense and even the CBS camera crew. He kept the ball for himself and jogged into the end zone for a touchdown -- his first rushing score in five seasons.

1. Manning's seventh touchdown

WHEN:Week 1, Broncos vs. Ravens

WHAT:Manning's historic performance in Week 1 earns the No. 1 spot in our countdown. But one play in particular from that game earns the honors -- Manning's NFL record-tying seventh touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas. It was a familiar play -- Thomas scored on a similar pass in Week 1 of the 2012 season. Manning found Thomas on a quick bubble screen and the receiver followed his blockers and did the rest, racing 78 yards for the final score of the game, cementing a 49-27 win. Manning had 462 passing yards and seven touchdowns in the victory.

What do you think? Do you agree with the order? Did we leave any plays out? Let us know in the comments.

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