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5 things to know after Manning breaks record

HOUSTON (AP) - Peyton Manning never dreamed he'd throw an NFL record 51 touchdowns just two years removed from neck surgeries that threatened to end his career.

Manning reflected on his remarkable comeback soon after regaining the NFL record for touchdown passes in a season in Denver's 37-13 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday that gave the Broncos their third straight AFC West title.

"There was major unpredictability," Manning said. "So a lot of (doctors) said: 'Maybe you'll come back to this level and maybe not.' So there was definitely some wait and see ... but no, it would be hard to say you could have imagined this at that point."

He missed the entire 2011 season after four neck surgeries weakened his right triceps and put his future in question.

Now 37, Manning regained his record when he threw for 400 yards and four touchdowns, including three in the fourth quarter. He surpassed the 50 TD passes Tom Brady threw in 2007 and led the Broncos (12-3) to the victory over the Texans (2-13) that extended Houston's franchise-record skid to 13 games.

Manning did it on a 25-yard pass to Julius Thomas with 4:28 remaining. Just 2½ minutes earlier, he tied the mark with a 20-yard pass to Eric Decker.

He entered the game with 47 and his first touchdown came on a 36-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas in the second quarter. The second was a 10-yard throw to Decker earlier in the fourth period.

Manning had previously established the record by throwing 49 touchdown passes in 2004.

"It's just amazing to be able to be a part of it," Denver center Manny Ramirez said. "Everything we see from Peyton, being prepared, it's worked for him."

The Broncos already had a spot in the playoffs, but their victory, combined with Kansas City's loss to Indianapolis, gave them the division crown.

"It's never fun to be on the opposite end of a record-breaking performance," Houston defensive end J.J. Watt said. "The guy is a heck of a football player and you give credit where credit is due. There is a reason the guy should be MVP this year."

Five things to know about the Broncos-Texans game:

ANDRE'S RECORD: Houston receiver Andre Johnson finished with four catches for 63 yards. He has 103 catches this season to reach 100 for the fifth time in his career, tying an NFL record for most seasons with at least that many receptions. Johnson entered the game needing one catch to reach the mark held by Denver's Wes Welker. He did it on a 33-yard reception in the first quarter. Johnson also had more than 100 receptions in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2012.

"It's all fine and dandy," Johnson said of the record, "but I only play the game for one reason, and that's to win. It's a great thing to happen, but under these circumstances it really doesn't matter."

NO WELKER, NO PROBLEM: Welker missed his second straight game after sustaining his second concussion in four weeks on Dec. 8. But Manning still had a big day thanks to the strong play of Denver's other receivers. Decker led the Broncos with 10 receptions for 131 yards, and Demaryius Thomas had eight catches for 123 yards. Julius Thomas added six receptions for 78 yards.

Demaryius Thomas leads the team with 1,317 yards receiving, Decker has a career-high 1,261 and Julius Thomas 752, also a career-best.

SCHAUB'S LAST HOORAH IN HOUSTON? Matt Schaub started for the first time since Oct. 13 in place of the injured Case Keenum. He finished with 176 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. Schaub, benched for Keenum after a terrible six games, admitted that he has thought about the possibility Sunday was his last game for Houston.

"It has definitely crossed my mind," he said. "I didn't want to think too far ahead, but I've played this game long enough to know how things work."

MILLER'S KNEE: The Broncos lost star linebacker Von Miller to a knee injury in the first quarter. Miller was able to walk off the field on his own after being hurt in the first quarter. Miller was the second overall pick in the 2011 draft and won Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. He was suspended for the first six games this season after violating the league's drug-abuse policy. He has started all nine games since his return and has five sacks.

Denver coach John Fox didn't have an update on Miller's condition after the game.

"They'll have tests," Fox said. "Anything until we get all of the tests will be purely speculation, so we will just wait until we hear something definitive."

KNOWSHON 1K: Denver's Knowshon Moreno had 11 carries for 76 yards on Sunday to reach 1,015 yards for his first career 1,000-yard rushing season and the 20th in franchise history. He also had two receptions for 26 yards to give him 507 yards receiving and make him the first player in Denver history to have 1,000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving in a season.

Join the discussion

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ryen7up1 December 23 2013 at 9:24 PM

Manning is an example of what can happen when you do not give up on yourself and believe the critics. Well Done, Peyton!!

Get the ring.

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agnusdeiemm December 23 2013 at 8:21 PM

Many years will pass for us football fans before we see
another Peyton Manning. He has gained the respect
of all pro devotees both on and off the football field.
He has answered the call against all odds, Denver
has been blessed.

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tefelts December 23 2013 at 2:51 PM

When Peyton didn't win the Heisman I thought it was the worst injustice ever given a college player. He has proven in the Pros just as he did in College he is the best. Where is Charles Woodson today. Everyone knows that he is as good as they come. In 1997 the heisman voters were determined to not vote for a QB from the SEC two years in a row so they snubbed him, look who is laughing now.

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2 replies
eha141958 tefelts December 23 2013 at 3:21 PM


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4 replies
dvcraw tefelts December 24 2013 at 12:32 AM

Although Manning was disappointed when he did not win the Heisman, he remarked later that he never much liked the giving of individual awards in a sport which is so much a team sport.

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tbonejg1970 December 23 2013 at 8:12 PM

Even though im from cleveland , ohio i was never a Denver fan because John Elway always put it on Cleveland in the playoffs when i was a kid everytime im a Peyton Manning fan so i liked the broncos since he been over there i still cheer for my hometown team but Peyton Manning is the man it was a good choice over Tewbow Peyton manning the Sheriff baby

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Margie December 23 2013 at 3:21 PM

I have enjoyed watching Peyton Manning play footbell since he played for UT. He is a master at what he does and is not afraid to make fun of himself in commercials and tv shows. He is a genuine southern gentleman a great sportsman, a credit to the game of football and a shining example of what a football player should be for those who wish to compete in this game.

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1 reply
etherweem Margie December 23 2013 at 4:16 PM

I was going to post a comment, but you said it so well, I don't need to. The game could use a few hundred more players with his character and personality.

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hopfornow December 23 2013 at 7:43 PM

Gotta love those Denver Broncos!!

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1 reply
Timothy hopfornow December 23 2013 at 8:52 PM

i agree they have a very good team@excellent quarterback

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Don Bourgeois December 23 2013 at 3:36 PM

All I have to say is that when you have such a great quarterback like Manning, good things seem to happen to other players that play with him. Manning and Denver is FUN to watch when they play, after all he comes from a great football family.

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cox.love67 December 23 2013 at 6:53 PM

I see alot of haters posting lame ass coments about PMF. Dudes a stud, recognize..

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EleanorRigby December 23 2013 at 6:53 PM

I think that Peyton Manning is probably one of the all-time best QB's. I like him for his humility - he isn't cocky and comes across at time as humble. He seems like a guy you would automatically like the first time you met him. He's fun to watch; he's quick and I really like that about him. In my opinion, he's a great athlete and a terrific human being.

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solsen50 EleanorRigby December 23 2013 at 8:10 PM

I agree - well said :)

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robertsmts December 23 2013 at 2:45 PM

I was at the 1986 super bowl when i went to the bathroom at half time and the giants were losing to Denver at half time and this gorgeous woman was right next to me, and she made a comment that she was going to Maui, Hawaii if the broncos won the super bowl, and I laughed. The giants destroyed them in the 3rd quarter, and I keep thinking about her, and wondering what she looks like now. Hope Peyton dos it for this year. Bill Murphy

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