DENVER – Peyton Manning’s receivers played keep-away with his milestone memento and the NFL’s new leader in career touchdown passes toyed with the San Francisco 49ers in the Denver Broncos’ 42-17 victory Sunday night.
Manning went into the showdown two TDs shy of Brett Favre’s record of 508, and threw four touchdown passes to reach 510.
“It’s special because of the way our team played,” said Manning, who surpassed Favre’s mark with an 8-yard strike to Demaryius Thomas late in the second quarter.
As he went to retrieve the ball, his teammates had some fun.
Thomas tossed the ball over Manning to Emmanuel Sanders, who lobbed it to Wes Welker. From there, Welker dished it back to Sanders, who flipped it to Julius Thomas — all of Manning’s favorite targets getting into the act.
“Those guys are all great athletes and my vertical leap isn’t what it used to be. I haven’t played keep-away since I was 8 years old,” Manning said. “That is something I will always remember.”
The Broncos had actually talked about doing something like that but Manning said he was surprised his teammates went through with it.
He shouldn’t have been, Demaryius Thomas said, revealing that Manning actually had them practice it Friday.
“It’s easy. You did that when you were kids,” Thomas said. “It’s like keep the ball away from the guy in the middle.”
After the shenanigans, a series of football dignitaries offered their kudos on the giant scoreboard, including GM John Elway, Dan Marino, Y.A. Tittle, Sonny Jurgensen, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and of course, Favre.
“I want to say congratulations for breaking the touchdown record,” Favre said. “I’m not surprised. You’ve been a wonderful player and I’ve enjoyed watching you play. I’ve enjoyed competing against you. I wish you great success for the rest of the season and the rest of your career.”
Manning added a 40-yard TD throw to Demaryius Thomas after Aqib Talib’s interception in the third quarter that made it 28-10, and then Demaryius Thomas set up another score with a 49-yard catch.
Manning completed 22 of 26 passes for 318 yards with no interceptions to go with his four TD throws before taking the fourth quarter off.
Jaguars 24, Browns 6: In Jacksonville, Denard Robinson ran for a career-high 127 yards and a touchdown, the Jaguars’ defense came up big in the red zone, and the home team snapped a nine-game losing streak.
Rams 28, Seahawks 26: In St. Louis, punter Johnny Hekker’s pass from the Rams 18 caught the Seahawks by surprise for the last of three big plays by St. Louis special teams in an upset of the defending Super Bowl champions.
Cowboys 31, Giants 21: In Arlington, Texas, Tony Romo threw three touchdown passes, and DeMarco Murray broke Jim Brown’s 56-year-old NFL record with his seventh straight 100-yard rushing game to start a season.
Chiefs 23, Chargers 20: In San Diego, Cairo Santos kicked a 48-yard field goal field goal with 21 seconds left.
Cardinals 24, Raiders 13: In Oakland, Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes in his return to the Colosseum to send the Raiders to their 12th straight loss.
Lions 24, Saints 23: In Detroit, Matthew Stafford threw two touchdown passes in the final 3:38, including the winner to Corey Fuller with 1:48 remaining.
Colts 27, Bengals 0: In Indianapolis, Andrew Luck threw two touchdown passes and the Colts’ defense dominated Cincinnati. Luck was 27 of 42 for 344 yards as Indianapolis won its fifth straight. It was Indy’s first shutout since December 2008.
Packers 38, Panthers 17: In Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers threw for 255 yards and three touchdowns, and Randall Cobb torched the Carolina secondary for 121 yards on receptions.
Ravens 29, Falcons 7: In Baltimore, Elvis Dumervil and Pernell McPhee each had two sacks, part of a dominant defensive performance.
Dolphins 27, Bears 14: In Chicago, Ryan Tannehill threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns in an efficient performance.
Redskins 19, Titans 17: In Landover, Maryland, Kai Forbath kicked a 22-yard field goal on the last play of the game.
Bills 17, Vikings 16: In Orchard Park, New York, Kyle Orton hit Sammy Watkins on a 2-yard touchdown pass with 1 second remaining.