Peyton Manning's debut as quarterback of the Broncos was a big winner for NBC -- its highest-rated game on a Sunday night.
The network announced the ratings Tuesday, two days after Denver defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-19.
The game drew a 16.5 national household rating and 26 share. That topped the 15.7/25 ratings of last year's Cowboys-Giants Week 17 finale. The ratings also tied the 2010 NFL opener of Minnesota-New Orleans as NBC's highest-rated regular-season game.
The Steelers-Broncos game was seen by more than 27.5 million viewers, second only to the Cowboys-Giants regular-season prime-time game. Sunday night football has been on NBC since 2006.
A ratings point represents 1,147,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.7 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.