All part of another impeccably crafted victory for Manning and the
Manning went 32 for 37 for 374 yards and set a few more records 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
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
Manning's targets for the next two touchdowns — Welker and
"All of them did a good job competing," Manning said of his receivers. "We knew we were in a challenge, because Oakland has good cover corners. Mix up their coverage well. Guys did a good job getting open versus man, and finding holes in the zones. All of them did a good job running with the ball after the catch."
OK, so the evening wasn't perfect. There were the five incompletions, though two of them were flat-out drops and another two hit receivers in the hands, but would have been difficult catches. The Broncos settled for three field goals and had to punt once. Rookie
And Manning's prediction that
But Denver was ahead 30-7 at that point.
"Those are things we have to iron out," Manning said.
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.
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, when Terrelle Pryor (19 for 28 for 281 yards) hit
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.