DENVER — Peyton Manning was magnificent in his final regular-season tuneup Sunday, throwing his first two touchdown passes for the Denver Broncos in a 29-24 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Manning completed 10 of 12 passes for 122 yards, including TD tosses of 10 and 5 yards to Eric Decker, and was nearly perfect. The two misses were a dropped pass by Joel Dreessen and an errant pass to Brandon Stokley, who was held on the play but didn’t draw the flag.
After managing one TD to go with four turnovers in his first seven possessions this preseason, Manning drove the Broncos (1-2, No. 10 in the AP Pro 32) to scores on all three of his possessions, then put on his visor with 46 seconds left in the first quarter after staking Denver to a 17-0 lead.
Alex Smith threw a 49-yard TD pass and David Akers kicked five field goals for the Niners (2-1, No. 4), who outscored the Broncos’ backups 19-0 in the second half but lost wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. to an ankle injury early in the second half.
For the second straight week, the Broncos’ backups were awful. In blowing a 24-10 halftime lead, they’ve been outscored 40-0 after halftime in the last two games.
PANTHERS 17, JETS 12
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Tim Tebow got the fans fired up with a dazzling 20-yard run in the fourth quarter for New York, but threw an interception three plays later and Carolina held on to win.
The Jets (0-3, No. 17) haven’t scored a touchdown through three preseason games.
Tebow faced a third-and-16 from the Jets 34 and ran around in the backfield, eluded a tackle attempt by Ryan Van Bergan and took off and slipped through a few other tackle attempts by the Panthers (2-1, No. 20) before being taken down for a 20-yard gain by Reggie Smith. Tebow pumped both fists and yelled at the crowd chanting “Tee-boww! Tee-boww!” But three plays later, Tebow threw an easy interception to Smith.
Tebow had another chance to get the Jets in the end zone, but threw four straight incompletions to end the game. Jets starter Mark Sanchez played well into the third quarter, but got no help from his receivers who dropped a few passes. He finished 11 of 18 for 123 yards and an interception.
Cam Newton was held mostly in check by the Jets, going 6 of 15 for 60 yards, but he got the Panthers (No. 20) into the end zone with a touchdown pass to Louis Murphy. Backup Derek Anderson put Carolina ahead to stay with a 1-yard touchdown toss to Gary Barnidge with 11:31 left.