8:30 PM ET, September 23, 2013
Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, CO
All part of another impeccably crafted victory for Manning and the Denver Broncos, who rolled over the Oakland Raiders 37-21 on Monday night. Denver's 127 points this season lead the league and are 31 more than second-place Green Bay's total.
It was Denver's 14th straight regular-season win, tying the franchise record set in 1998 when the Broncos won their second Super Bowl.
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Manning went 32-for-37 for 374 yards and three touchdowns, and put his name in the record books a few more times while outwitting the overmatched Raiders (1-2).
"You see flashes of good things," Manning said. "When we're executing and not making mistakes, we can go the distance. We can go 80 yards, take advantage of a short field."
Manning's 12 touchdown passes are one more than Tom Brady's old record for the first three games, set in 2011. Manning has yet to throw an interception, which matches a record held by Michael Vick, who also threw 12 touchdowns before his first pick in 2010.
"We get to play with one of the greatest quarterbacks and football players to ever play the game," said tight end Julius Thomas, who caught one of the touchdowns. "He's great. There's no other way to cut it up or slice it."
As much as the numbers, it was Manning's deciphering of the Oakland defense that made jaws drop in this one.
His first touchdown, a 2-yard pass to Eric Decker (eight catches, 133 yards), came after a subtle play-action fake that froze the defense and left Decker uncovered in the back of the end zone.
Manning's targets for the next two touchdowns -- Welker and Thomas -- didn't have defenders within three steps of them when they caught the passes. Wide open. A sure sign that Manning had diagnosed the defense he was looking at well before the snap and knew exactly where he wanted to go with the ball.
"You see what he can do. I don't even know too many people who can do that in 'Madden,'" running back Ronnie Hillman said, referring to the popular video game. "It's pretty cool to have a quarterback like that."
It's What He Does
With another 374 passing yards Monday, Peyton Manning has compiled the fourth-most passing yards through the first three games of an NFL season.
|Tom Brady, 2011||1,327|
|Kurt Warner, 2000||1,221|
|Drew Bledsoe, 1994||1,166|
|Peyton Manning, 2013||1,143|
|Frank Tripucka, 1962||1,098|
OK, so the evening wasn't perfect. There were the five incompletions, although two of them were flat-out drops and another two hit receivers in the hands but would have been difficult catches. The Broncos (3-0) settled for three field goals and had to punt once. Rookie Montee Ball lost another fumble. Denver came a field goal short of reaching 40 points for the third straight game.
And Manning's prediction that Chris Clark would be a seamless replacement for injured Ryan Clady as his blindside protector didn't exactly pan out. Lamarr Houston beat Denver's new starting left tackle badly in the third quarter for a sack and strip that halted a drive that had reached the Raiders' 13.
But Denver was ahead 30-7 at that point.
And, really, any complaints about Denver's offense seem like quibbling given what's gone on so far this season. The record for touchdown passes in a season is 50, set by Brady in 2007. If he keeps up this pace, Manning will throw 64.
"Any inch of mistake that he sees, he's going to put the ball there and find that hole," Raiders cornerback Mike Jenkins said.
As for Denver's biggest rival, the Raiders -- since Manning arrived, the Broncos have outscored them 100-40 in three runaway wins.
The Raiders' offense made one big play before the game got out of hand. Terrelle Pryor (19-for-28 for 281 yards), who left the game late with a concussion, hit Denarius Moore in the middle of the field, and Broncos defensive backs Duke Ihenacho and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie whiffed on the tackle. Moore went 73 yards to cut Oakland's deficit to 17-7 in the second quarter.
All of which simply gave Manning the ball back more quickly. On the first play of the next drive, he hit Decker, who spun away from his defender for a 61-yard gain. Three plays later, the Broncos were up 17 again after Manning found Thomas on an out route for a 13-yard score.
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The Broncos' defense, now halfway through Von Miller's suspension and playing again without the injured Champ Bailey (foot), allowed only 9 yards on the ground to Darren McFadden, who went into the game leading the league with 223 yards from scrimmage. McFadden did, however, throw a touchdown -- a 16-yard connection to Marcel Reece on a halfback option -- and got a late rushing score.
Broncos DBs Ihenacho and Tony Carter each left with ankle injuries. ... DL Robert Ayers, who took the starting spot vacated when Elvis Dumervil left, had two sacks for Denver. ... Pryor had nine rushes for 36 yards to reach 198 yards on the ground this season.
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 23: Oakland Raiders fans prepare for their game against the Denver Broncos at Sports...(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from Penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||6.7||7.3|
Comp - Att
Yards per pass
Sacks - Yards Lost
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||2-3||4-6|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
|TD||10:28||Eric Decker 2 Yd Pass From Peyton Manning (Matt Prater Kick)||0||7|
|FG||00:47||Matt Prater 53 Yd||0||10|
|TD||07:27||Wes Welker 12 Yd Pass From Peyton Manning (Matt Prater Kick)||0||17|
|TD||05:57||Denarius Moore 73 Yd Pass From Terrelle Pryor (Sebastian Janikowski Kick)||7||17|
|TD||03:40||Julius Thomas 13 Yd Pass From Peyton Manning (Matt Prater Kick)||7||24|
|FG||00:19||Matt Prater 41 Yd||7||27|
|FG||08:41||Matt Prater 40 Yd||7||30|
|TD||00:17||Marcel Reece 16 Yd Pass From Darren McFadden (Sebastian Janikowski Kick)||14||30|
|TD||11:27||Ronnie Hillman 1 Yd Run (Matt Prater Kick)||14||37|
|TD||01:15||Darren McFadden 1 Yd Run (Sebastian Janikowski Kick)||21||37|
Peyton Manning had a Total QBR of 95.4 Monday, his third highest in a game since the 2010 season. It was the second-highest Total QBR in any game this season.[+]
Terrelle Pryor was 5-of-8 on throws 15 or more yards downfield Monday. His five completions on such throws are more than he had in his first two games combined.[+]
Terrelle Pryor Passing 15+ Yards Downfield, This Season
Manning's 37 pass attempts traveled an average of 6.6 yards downfield Monday, tied for his shortest average pass attempt in a game since 2010. In three games this season, Manning's average pass has traveled 8.0 yards downfield, his shortest since 2006. --Manning's receiving corps had a combined 130 yards after the catch Monday night, including a career-high 60 yards after the catch from Eric Decker. This season, Broncos wide receivers have gained 355 yards after the catch, most in the league.
In three games this season, Wes Welker has been targeted 27 times and has four touchdowns, second most among wide receivers. His current touchdown rate is better than any of his seasons with Tom Brady and the Patriots.[+]
Peyton Manning completed a career-high 86.5 percent of his passes Monday (min. 20 attempts). All five of Manning's incompletions were either defended passes or dropped by his targets. His 37 pass attempts without an off-target throw are the most by a quarterback in a single game since 2008. --Manning was particularly effective when targeting his wide receivers, completing 25-of-27 attempts to Wes Welker, Eric Decker, or Demaryius Thomas, including his first 20 attempts to the trio.[+]
Peyton Manning Passing, This Season
The Broncos defense held Darren McFadden to seven rushing yards between the tackles Monday. McFadden finished with negative three yards before contact on rushes between the tackles, the fewest in his career.[+]
Darren McFadden Rushing Between the Tackles, This Season
Wes Welker caught a touchdown pass for the fifth consecutive game Monday, the longest streak of his career and tied with former teammate Rob Gronkowski for the longest active streak in the NFL.[+]
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