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Originally published August 17, 2014 at 8:44 PM | Page modified August 17, 2014 at 10:18 PM

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Denver blanks San Francisco, spoiling Niners’ Levi’s Stadium debut

Peyton Manning goes 12 of 14 and throws a touchdown in Broncos’ 34-0 exhibition victory at new stadium in Santa Clara.


The Associated Press

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Peyton Manning threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Julius Thomas and dominated in his two series, leading the Denver Broncos past the San Francisco 49ers 34-0 in an exhibition game Sunday to spoil the 49ers’ debut at $1.2 billion Levi’s Stadium.

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 preseason matchup of the past two Super Bowl losers.

“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.”

Colin Kaepernick went 5 for 9 for 39 yards in his two series before a sellout crowd at the team’s new digs. Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes beat the Sounders in the stadium’s first sporting event Aug. 1.

Atlanta loses Baker for year

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The Atlanta Falcons’ revamped offensive line took a major setback when left tackle Sam Baker was ruled out for the year after injuring his right knee in an exhibition game.

The Falcons said the injury plagued Baker suffered a torn patellar tendon in a 32-7 loss to the Houston Texans on Saturday night.

First-round pick Jake Matthews could move from right to left tackle to replace Baker, but the injury is a huge blow to Atlanta’s efforts to bolster a line that was one of the league’s worst a year ago.

The Falcons ranked last in the league in yards rushing and quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked a career-high 44 times, in addition to being pressured 203 times, most in the NFL.

Notes

• New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees fully participated in practice for the first time since straining his left oblique muscle two weeks ago.

Brees hasn’t missed a start due to injury since coming to New Orleans in 2006 and says he plans on playing against Indianapolis on Saturday night in the Saints’ third exhibition game.

Cam Newton made a successful return following ankle surgery, Jonathan Stewart ran for two touchdowns and the host Carolina Panthers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 28-16.

Newton completed 4 of 9 passes for 65 yards and led a pair of touchdown drives in the exhibition game before exiting late in the second quarter with Carolina (1-1) up 14-6.

Stewart, the former star from Timberline High in Lacey who played at Oregon, ran for 26 yards on four carries and made a strong case to be the Panthers’ goal-line back — if not their primary ball carrier — with scoring runs of 3 and 2 yards.



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