SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Even Peyton Manning realizes he’s ready for the regular season. Or at least darn close.
Manning threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Julius Thomas and dominated in his two series, leading the Broncos past the 49ers 34-0 on Sunday to spoil the NFL debut at sparkling $1.2 billion Levi’s Stadium.
“It’s been a good start. That’s all it is, though,” Manning said. “We’ve still got some things we have to improve on.”
The 38-year-old Manning, beginning his 17th season after throwing for an NFL-record 55 touchdowns last year, completed 12 of 14 passes for 102 yards and a 120.8 rating. He was 8 for 8 on Denver’s second drive, then backup Brock Osweiler took over and threw for a score and led another touchdown drive in a matchup of the past two Super Bowl losers.
Colin Kaepernick went 5 for 9 for 39 yards in his two series before the sellout crowd.
Panthers 28, Chiefs 16: In Charlotte, N.C., Cam Newton made a successful return following ankle surgery and Jonathan Stewart ran for two touchdowns in Carolina’s win.
Newton completed 4 of 9 passes for 65 yards and led a pair of touchdown drives.
Alex Smith was 14 of 22 for 127 yards for Kansas City. Rookie Aaron Murray’s first NFL pass resulted in a 43-yard touchdown strike, but he also had an interception.
- tlanta’s revamped offensive line took a major setback Sunday when left tackle Sam Baker was ruled out for the year after injuring his right knee. The Falcons said the injury-plagued Baker sustained a torn patellar tendon in a 32-7 loss to the Texans on Saturday.
- New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees fully participated in practice for the first time since Aug. 1, when the eight-time Pro Bowler strained a left oblique muscle.
- Jacksonville receiver Cecil Shorts returned to practice and could play in Friday’s preseason game at Detroit. Shorts strained his right hamstring in the team’s opening training camp practice.