Peyton Manning drew his biggest ovation on an incompletion.
Blasted by defensive end Bruce Irvin, the four-time MVP who missed all of last season with a neck injury that required four operations bounced right back up, shook it off and threw a 22-yard bullet to Brandon Stokley on the next play.
It was the highlight of a mostly forgettable home debut for Manning, whose Broncos lost 30-10 to the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday night after Denver's backups were outscored 21-0.
Manning had shown throughout training camp that his arm strength was back along with his accuracy. The only question left was whether he could take a hard hit after undergoing neck fusion surgery last September.
The answer came with 1:25 left in the first half when Irvin beat right tackle Orlando Franklin and had a clean shot at the quarterback.
''I came into the game trying to be the first one to get a shot on him since he's been back and I guess I succeeded,'' Irvin said. ''He's a great quarterback, got the ball out quick and it's hard to get to him. I just put on a good move and just so happened to get through.''
Welcome back to the NFL, Peyton.
''He didn't say anything. He moaned a little bit, though,'' Irvin said. ''So I guess he really felt it. It was a good hit, good play and now it's time to move on.''
Manning's sentiments, too, after his first hit in 19 months.
''I never heard a crowd cheer for an incompletion before,'' Manning said. ''I think the next pass was to Stokley, right? That's what I told you I was going to do.''
Indeed, Manning had been saying for weeks that he only hoped that first big hit happened on first or second down so he could bounce back up and complete a long pass.
He couldn't decide what was better, getting that initial big blast out of the way or putting a halt to all the questions about whether he could still take a hit.