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Falcons 27, Broncos 21

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ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Falcons added to what was already one of the biggest questions of the young NFL season: Is Peyton Manning healthy?

Atlanta picked off Manning three times in the first half Monday and survived a late Denver rally for a 27-21 win front of a raucous crowd at the Georgia Dome.

Matt Ryan threw two touchdown passes, one to Tony Gonzalez and the other to Roddy White for his 100th scoring pass of his career.

The Falcons (2-0) ended a six-game losing streak on "Monday Night Football" and improved to 7-0 at home in September under coach Mike Smith. Atlanta is the only undefeated team in the NFC South.

The loss leaves the Broncos (1-1) having to answer questions about the health of their quarterback. Manning missed 20 months recovering from a neck injury that ultimately led to his departure from Indianapolis and generated questions about deteriorating arm strength.

All three of his interceptions came on late throws deep over the middle against a depleted Falcons secondary that was missing All-Pro corner Brent Grimes. Deep throws were few and far between after his third pick.

The Falcons picked off Manning on two of his first four pass attempts, the first setting up Michael Turner's 1-yard dive for a touchdown to put the Falcons up 7-0 less than two minutes into the game.

William Moore, Thomas DeCoud and Robert McClain picked off Manning in the first half. However, twice the Falcons had to settle for Matt Bryant field goals after turnovers, keeping Denver in the game.

Atlanta went up 20-0 midway through the second quarter, with Ryan scrambling to his right and finding Gonzalez wide open in the back of the end zone on a 1-yard pass.

Manning finally got the Broncos in the end zone right before half, when he connected with Demaryius Thomas for a 17-yard touchdown on third-and-goal with six seconds left in the second quarter.

The Falcons went up 27-7 on Ryan's 4-yard touchdown toss to White, who had his 29th career 100-yard receiving game.

The Broncos answered with 14 straight points on a pair of short Willis McGahee touchdown runs, and they were down just 27-21 with three minutes to play.

Ryan responded with a clock-killing drive, hooking up with Julio Jones for a big third-down conversion.

Ryan finished 24 of 36 for 219 yards. White caught eight passes for 102 yards.

Manning didn't turn the ball over in the second half and completed 24 of 37 passes for 247 yards.

The Falcons head to 2-0 San Diego next week, looking for their first 3-0 start in Mike Smith's five seasons.

It doesn't get any easier for the Broncos, who return home to host the 2-0 Houston Texans.

NOTES: The last time Manning threw three interceptions in the first half came with Indianapolis against San Diego in 2007. He ended up with a Colts record six interceptions in the game. ... Manning moved past his boss, Broncos' executive vice president of football operations John Elway, and into third place on the NFL's all-time list for pass attempts. ... The first half was marred by 13 penalties, multiple officials' reviews and a fight between the teams near the Broncos' sideline. The first quarter took more than an hour in real time. ... Denver starting right guard Chris Kuper was inactive. Manny Ramirez started in his place. ... The Falcons' Dunta Robinson got the start at corner in place of Grimes, who was lost for the season after tearing his Achilles in last week's win at Kansas City. ... Atlanta starting cornerback Asante Samuel suffered a neck injury in the first quarter and had to leave the game. Samuel returned in the second quarter. ... Falcons cornerback Chris Owens suffered a head injury in the first half and did not return.
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