From Comcast SportsNetDENVER (AP) -- That's the Peyton Manning the Denver Broncos and their fans have been waiting all summer to see. Magnificent. A machine. On the money. And no longer just a memory.Manning was close to perfect 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.In less than a quarter of work, Manning completed 10 of 12 passes for 122 yards, including TD tosses of 10 and 5 yards to Eric Decker, and the only two misses were a dropped pass by Joel Dreessen and an errant throw 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) to scores on all three of his series, then put on his visor with 46 seconds left in the first quarter after staking Denver to a 17-0 lead."I thought we did some good things today," Manning said. "We moved the ball pretty well and we got two touchdowns. It would have been nice to get three, had to settle to for a field goal. I thought the running game was good. Willis (McGahee) made some nice runs, had some nice holes by the offensive line, the receivers made some nice plays, as well."The Broncos finally showed more than just a glimpse of the offensive firepower they can have with the four-time MVP under center."I think it was nice just to start fast and finish off some drives and put some points on the board and play some good football," Stokley said. "I think that was more important than him throwing the first touchdown pass."The Broncos (No. 10 in the AP Pro32) mixed up their looks, throwing in some no-huddle with four-wide receiver sets, using fullback Chris Gronkowski at the point of attack and sending tailback Lance Ball out wide to run routes like a receiver."That's what this preseason is for. You want to win the game but you want to get a look at different players," Manning said. "No matter what grouping we were in we showed we could move the ball."Alex Smith threw a 49-yard TD pass and David Akers kicked five field goals for the Niners (2-1), 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. They've now been outscored 40-0 after halftime in the last two games.Denver's first drive stalled when the replacement officials failed to whistle cornerback Carlos Rogers for a blatant hold on a third-down pass to Stokley, and the Broncos settled for Matt Prater's 53-yard field goal.Manning was money after that.He completed all six of his passes for 83 yards on a long drive that ended with his first touchdown throw in orange and blue, a 10-yard strike to Decker, who beat Rogers across the middle. The highlight of drive was a 38-yard pass to Ball, who beat linebacker Larry Grant.Ball, though, bruised his ribs on the play and didn't return. He said afterward he was fine.So was Manning, who was blasted by linebacker Parys Haralson in the chest right as he released his longest pass of the preseason. After Ball came down with it, Manning bounced right up, raced downfield, lined up in the no-huddle and hit running back Willis McGahee for 14 yards to the San Francisco 12.It was the second time Manning, who missed all of last season with a neck injury that required four operations, had been hit hard in the preseason, and both times shook off the cobwebs and responded with a big pass for the first down."The offense was excited to move the ball," Manning said. "We had some rhythm, we huddled today yet we still played at an up-tempo pace."Linebacker Wesley Woodyard recovered a fumbled snap for the Broncos (No. 10 in the AP Pro 32) at the San Francisco 24, and four plays later, Manning found Decker wide open by the back left pylon for his second touchdown and a 17-0 lead over the 49ers (No. 4).The Broncos' onside kick backfired when Matthew Willis touched the ball about a yard early, and Smith found tight end Vernon Davis all alone along the left sideline for a 49-yard score on the next snap."I was surprised," Niners coach Jim Harbaugh said of the Broncos' onside kick in the preseason. "But I'm glad they did it. It's good for us because you always have to be aware of it."Manning said he'd have gone out for another series had the Broncos recovered the onside kick. When they didn't, his day was done."I feel very comfortable where he is and rather than put him out there in harm's way, we took him out," Broncos coach John Fox said.Caleb Hanie, locked in a backup battle with rookie Brock Osweiler to serve as Manning's primary understudy, underthrew Decker and former Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox intercepted at midfield. That led to Akers' first field goal, from 33 yards out. Hanie bounced back to throw a 5-yard TD pass to Dreessen that made it 24-10 at halftime."I don't want to say it's just the preseason because this is a time to get better," Niners linebacker Ahmad Brooks said. "It's a time you can really showcase what your team is capable of doing. I don't know but it's been a scary start to this point."Smith finished 5 of 7 for 69 yards, and his pocket of protection was much better than it had been during the preseason."It was a little hard to get in a rhythm," Smith said, who was sacked just once. "I thought the young guys did a great job in the second half. We have some stuff to clean up obviously."San Francisco's ground game, which had gained an NFL-best 378 yards through the first two weeks of the preseason, was stymied by the Broncos. With LaMichael James (left ankle) and Brandon Jacobs (left knee) sitting this one out, the 49ers were held to 14 yards on nine first-half carries, including two runs for minus-4 yards by Frank Gore.That all changed after halftime as the Niners finished with 139 yards rushing. Anthony Dixon had a 26-yard TD run and Akers kicked field goals of 45, 21, 32 and 44 yards while the Broncos sputtered once again with Manning on the sideline.Notes: Manning's passer rating of 148.6 was nearly 100 points higher than what it was (48.8) in the first two preseason games. ... Broncos rookie RB Ronnie Hillman made his preseason debut after dealing with a pulled right hamstring and gained 29 yards on 10 carries. "I'll plan on playing better next week and playing a lot faster," Hillman said. ... X-rays were negative on Ginn's right ankle. ... Rookie CB Omar Bolden bruised his left knee.
With Memorial Day weekend between now and the Redskins next batch of OTAs, let's look at the three best quotes from the first organized team session. For Redskins fans, the biggest looming issue remains the contract negotiations between Kirk Cousins and the organization, but there are plenty of other spots worth watching.
1) Bad recruiting - A long-term deal might not get done, but that doesn't mean the talks aren't moving along. Cousins sounded almost optimistic but also knows that football is never a sure thing. To explain, he told a story from his high school days:
I’ve just kind of learned from previous experiences and if you know my story going back to high school, I played my senior year of high school with no scholarship offers, in fact there was a coach here from Northwestern today who was my recruiting coach at Northwestern, he’s still the running backs coach 10 years later at Northwestern and I was getting recruited by Northwestern, wanted a scholarship, they didn’t offer me, and it was just a reminder that you never know what’s going to happen.
2) Sky's the limit - Despite the high-cost addition of Josh Norman, the Redskins secondary in 2016 was hardly a strength. Much of that came from poor safety play, where the team had few experienced options and spent little. This offseason, Washington invested in the position, bringing in D.J. Swearinger from the Arizona Cardinals. The new safety thinks the secondary can become a strength, quickly.
We have a lot of talent. If we work day in and day out I think this group can be one of the best. We just got to keep working, keep gelling to get everybody on the same page, the sky’s the limit.
3) Does it even matter - The NFL gives out a lot of awards, but at least publicly, there is no hardware for the funniest head coach. If there was a trophy, Jay Gruden should win it. Earlier this week the league announced a number of rule changes, most noticeably a change to stodgy TD celebration penalties. Another rule change: Overtime will shrink from 15 minutes to 10 minutes. Gruden wasn't impressed when asked about it.
Bonus - Who you calling fat? Gruden is too funny to only make the list once. Asked about second-year running back Robert Kelley, the coach made sure people know the difference between a nickname and reality.
That was just a nickname, he wasn’t actually fat. I think when you’re a 22-year-old kid, 21-year-old guy out of Tulane and you understand the wear and tear that the NFL is going to give you, you better get yourself into shape if you want to maintain a career in the NFL as a running back.
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Cousins on Jay Gruden as #Redskins play caller: He's kind of a natural— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayCSN) May 24, 2017
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The 2016-17 Wizards season had some crazy twists and turns. It ultimately ended with a loss to the Boston Celtics in the second round of the playoffs, but they won their first division title and had their most wins as a franchise since 1978-79. Along the way there were many memorable games. Here is a look at the 10 best...
10. April 6, 2017 - Beal says goodnight at the Garden
The Wizards got their 48th win of the season behind 25 points from Bradley Beal and 24 points for John Wall, who also had eight assists. Both hit four threes, none bigger than Beal's from the corner with :49 seconds left. That put the Wizards up 106-103 and that held as the final score. After Beal hit the three, he high-fived a Wizards fan at Madison Square Garden on his way back to play defense. It was a great moment for a team that was inching close to a playoff run.
9. February 28, 2017: Wizards take down big, bad Warriors
Yeah, Kevin Durant got hurt, but it was still a huge win for the Wizards who had just lost two straight coming out of the All-Star break. And even without Durant, the rest of the Warriors were pretty much the same guys who won 73 games one year before. The Wizards edged Golden State by four points after entering the fourth quarter tied. They dropped 40 points in the first quarter alone. Beal led them in scoring with 25 points, and Markieff Morris was great with 22 points and four blocks but it was Wall's career-high 19 assists that made the biggest difference.
8. January 19, 2017: Wizards' controversial win at Knicks
Wall (29 points, 13 assists, 3 steals) and Otto Porter (6 threes) led the way, but this one is memorable because of how it ended. First, Wall made a huge play by turning a defensive rebound into a fastbreak dunk with :13 seconds left. Then, on the final possession Courtney Lee passed up what looked like a wide open shot. It was later revealed by the Knicks that they were confused by Wizards assistant coach Sidney Lowe standing on the court during the play. Lowe was later fined by the NBA.
7. December 18, 2016: Wizards prove themselves against Clippers
Some would argue the Wizards' Sunday afternoon win over the Clippers in December was among the biggest turning points of their season. At the time, L.A. was one of the very best teams in basketball. But the Wizards beat them convincingly behind 41 points (including 6 threes) by Beal and 23 points, nine rebounds and three steals by Morris. Morris' defense on Blake Griffin in the fourth quarter also helped seal the victory for Washington, who improved to 12-14 and secured their first three-game winning streak of the season.
6. March 25, 2017: Wall explodes as Wizards win at Cavs
This was a nationally-televised game that many were waiting for. The Wizards had emerged as one of the best teams in the East and the Cavaliers did not take them lightly. Immediately, the Wizards imposed their will by shooting 82 percent in the first quarter. Wall set a career-high for one quarter with 18 points in the frame. He ended up with 37 on the night as the Wizards won in a 127-115 blowout that was not as close as the score would suggest. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers emptied their bench in consolation.
5. March 11, 2017: Morris beats Blazers in OT
This may rival the controversial Knicks game as one of the weirdest of the season. The Wizard came back from down 21 points and there were many standouts, as Wall had 39 points and Morris, Porter and Marcin Gortat all logged double-doubles. But it was all decided on a shot by Morris on the baseline that dropped in with just 0.4 seconds left on the clock. A closer look at the replay revealed Morris stepped out of bounds before dribbling out of the corner to shoot. The refs could not review the play and the Wizards were given a victory that probably shouldn't have been theirs. If Morris was called out of bounds, the Wizards would have been down one point with little time left to play. The Blazers were understandably very upset about that.
4. February 6, 2017: OT loss vs. Cavs
The only loss to make this list, the Wizards overtime battle against the defending-champion Cavaliers was one of the best games of the entire NBA season. Afterwards, Scott Brooks called it an "instant classic." Not only did all the stars show up with great games, but LeBron James' fadeaway bankshot to send the game to overtime may go down as one of the best - or at least most difficult - of his career. The loss also snapped a 17-game home winning streak for the Wizards.
3. January 24, 2017: All-black game vs. Celtics
The game itself was nothing to write home about, as the Wizards destroyed the Celtics by 15 points behind Beal's 31. But the hype that preceded this one made it among the most memorable of the season. After beating the Hornets in Charlotte the night before, the Wizards announced they were going to wear all-black clothing to their rematch with the Celtics, their first meeting since Wall and Jae Crowder got into a postgame altercation that took their budding rivalry into overdrive. Sure enough, they did show up in all-black. The Wizards set the bar high for themselves and could have easily been embarrassed by a loss, yet they delivered on all accounts.
2. April 28, 2017: Wall's epic Game 6 vs. Hawks
This game was also pretty lopsided, as the Wizards beat Atlanta by 16. But it was a closeout game and in it Wall put in one of the best performances by a Wizards or Bullets player in decades. Wall was brilliant with 42 points, eight assists, four steals and two blocks. Most impressive were his 19 fourth quarter points, which set a new personal best for points in one quarter. Wall scored the Wizards' final 13 points to almost singlehandedly ensure they would advance a round in the playoffs.
1. May 12, 2017: Wizards win Game 6 vs. Celtics behind Wall's 3
This will go down as one of the best Wizards games in years, even though they ended up losing the series. Down 3-2 to the Celtics with their season on the line, the Wizards made key plays in the fourth quarter to stay alive. They also avoided the bad optics of a loss where the Celtics showed up in all-black and looking for revenge. To win, the Wizards had to come back from down five points with less than :90 seconds to go. Beal and Wall matched the Celtics, who couldn't miss in the final minute. And it all came down to Wall knocking down a three-pointer in Avery Bradley's face with 3.5 seconds left. One defensive stop later and Wall was on top of the scorer's table celebrating with a soldout crowd. It was an amazing moment and one that will be recalled for a long time by Wizards fans.