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Some NFL numbers do indeed lie

Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas scored on

Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas scored on a 71-yard touchdown pass from Peyton Manning in the third quarter against Pittsburgh. (Sept. 9, 2012) Credit: AP

If you learn that an NFL team ran just two plays and had the ball for only 36 seconds of an entire quarter, you might expect that to adversely affect their chances of winning the football game.

But, what if Peyton Manning was the quarterback for those two plays and 36 seconds?

Yes, the Denver Broncos ran just two plays in the third quarter of Sunday night's season opener. It resulted in seven points and the lead. (Thanks in part to an overturned Steelers TD call at the end of the third quarter).

Denver opened the second half trailing, 13-7. They closed out the third quarter leading, 14-13. Two plays, 80 yards -- a 9-yard pass from Manning to Eric Decker, followed by a 71-yard catch and run for a touchdown by Demaryius Thomas.

So much for time of possession.

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