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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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John December 23 2013 at 2:40 PM

Elway and SI, got it right. Manning is the man! He's a humble guy with enough confidence to help the team go all of the way. Been a Denver fan for over 40 years. Seen them come and go. Could be our year?

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fred mosrie December 23 2013 at 4:51 PM

denver has a super team. manning is a class act. i hope the win the super bowl.
can not say to much great stuff about tom brady. he is a not class man. go denver.

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shamrock2u December 23 2013 at 4:54 PM

Peyton Manning for president, he can get things done, no lie.

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bact3 December 23 2013 at 5:03 PM

good for you, you did it! worlds best cup of coffee!!

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marilbice1 December 23 2013 at 5:06 PM

We watched John Elway start with the Broncos, and grow up with the Broncos - and now, he is the boss of the Broncos, and he went and got Peyton to play for the Broncos. Way to go, John. Peyton is a super player, one to be very proud of, and a special super quarterback. He has brought glory to the Broncos again - thank God. We had season tickets since the very first game played in the old DU stadium, and 40 years later, we sold them, and now get to watch in comfort from home, on our wide screen tv, with really cold beer, and really hot hot dogs!!! The best is yet to be --- and we went to 2 super bowls with the Broncos, too! So, bring on the 2014 Super Bowl -- winners!!! Broncos all the way

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rhughesok December 23 2013 at 5:10 PM


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1 reply
edbon64 rhughesok December 23 2013 at 6:08 PM

Supper bowl ?? Why not Lunch bowl ?? Or breakfast bowl ?? Spell check !

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mitch176 December 23 2013 at 5:10 PM

Go Payton Go, Whatever Payton does the Broncos do. Super Bowl #3. Do it in Elys Stadium. Denver- 27, Seattle- 13.

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rdcabe December 23 2013 at 5:17 PM

With I had held on to all his ROOKIE FOOTBALL CARDS.

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SMontano December 23 2013 at 5:36 PM

How wonderful it is to live in an era where I can watch football history being made.

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vinibomba December 23 2013 at 5:45 PM

This man wins games because he is great. Other QBS need the help of their field goal kicker to get them the Super Bowl ring(s) because they did not have the same attitude Peyton had and has. Great QBs know how to finis off the game by them selves. Great he set the new record in 15 game not 16. He'll probably throw 3/4 to finish with a nice number 55. Probably will set a new yardage record in a season too

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