Denver, CO – Throughout the offseason, the San Francisco 49ers were rumored to be interested in acquiring Peyton Manning.
Manning showed the 49ers what they might be missing on Sunday, although the Niners rallied to beat the Denver Broncos, 29-24.
Manning led Denver to points on all three of his drives, going 10-for-12 with 122 yards and a pair of touchdown passes.
Eric Decker, who made four catches for 38 yards, was on the receiving end of both scores.
For San Francisco, Alex Smith completed 5-of-7 passes for 69 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis.
Manning worked Denver into San Francisco territory on the game's opening drive before Matt Prater came on to hit a 53-yard field goal.
After San Francisco went three-and-out, Manning tossed his first touchdown pass as a Bronco. Following a 38-yard strike to Lance Ball on which Manning took a hard shot from Parys Haralson, he found Decker for a 10-yard touchdown.
After Smith fumbled a botched snap, Manning took advantage of the prime field position. Four players later, he hit Decker in the back, left corner of the end zone for a five-yard touchdown, giving Denver a 17-point advantage.
The Broncos tried an onside kick attempt, but it failed to go 10 yards, setting San Francisco up at the 44. On the following play, Smith found Davis wide open up the left sideline for a 44-yard touchdown late in the first quarter.
On his second pass, Caleb Hanie was picked off by Perrish Cox, leading to a 33-yard David Akers field goal.
Hanie led Denver to a touchdown with 26 seconds left in the half when he found Joel Dreessen for a five-yard TD to open up a 24-10 lead at half.
The second half was all San Francisco. Anthony Dixon ran for 58 yards on 13 carries, including a 26-yard touchdown to bring San Francisco within a score.
Colin Kaepernick was strong in the second half, completing all four of his throws for 80 yards and leading the Niners to 13 points to cut the lead to one.
Rock Cartwright broke off a 27-yard run to set up Akers' go-ahead, 49-yard field goal to put the Niners up, 26-24.
Akers added another field goal with under four minutes left to cap the scoring.