With the ball on the one-yard line and Peyton Manning one touchdown pass away from the all-time record, everybody in Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium and everybody watching at home knew the Broncos were going to throw the football.
The play sequence on the one-yard line to reach 509 was not particularly picture-perfect for Manning. On first down, Manning threw a tough pass that tight end Julius Thomas was unable to control. On the next play, Manning tripped on his center’s leg and fell back all the way to the eight-yard line.
The third time was the charm.
On third down, with 3:09 left in the second quarter, Manning threw an eight-yard strike to his favorite target, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas for the score, putting Manning on top of the NFL record books.
Manning made his record breaking touchdown pass look easy but Bronco’s receivers Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Emmanuel Sanders and tight end Julius Thomas played a friendly game of keep away with the record-setting touchdown ball, making it a little more challenging for Manning to get the ball back.
Brett Favre, now second on the all-time touchdown list, had some gracious words for Manning on the jumbrotron after he threw his 509th touchdown pass.
“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.”
Later in the game, Manning threw his fourth touchdown pass of the day to Demaryius Thomas putting him at 510 touchdown passes overall and leading the Broncos to a 42-17 win over the 49ers.
Manning was able to break Favre’s record in only 246 games, 56 games fewer than Favre. That’s more than three seasons worth of football.
Peyton Manning attributes the success throughout his career to his coaches and teammates in Denver and Indianapolis.
“I do think about how many people have helped throughout my career with something like that and just how grateful I am for that help and support,” Manning said. “Football is the ultimate team game and so I guess one man kind of has to accept it, but I kind of accept on behalf of a lot of coaches and teammates.”
Throughout his career, Manning has thrown his 510 touchdown passes to 45 different players. His top five touchdown targets are wide receivers Marvin Harrison (112), Reggie Wayne (67), tight ends Dallas Clark (44), Marcus Pollard (34) and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (29).
Most people consider Peyton Manning to be the best regular season quarterback of all time but due to his lack of Super Bowl victories critics hesitate calling him the greatest quarterback ever.
Many people associate Joe Montana, the former 49ers quarterback, as the best quarterback of all-time after Montana won four Super Bowls in four attempts. Peyton Manning only has one Super Bowl victory in three attempts but his regular season statistics throughout his career speaks for themselves. Joe Montana threw for only 273 touchdown passes and Montana’s replacement, Steve Young, threw for 232. Manning has thrown more touchdown passes than both Montana and Young combined.
Manning’s record-breaking touchdown pass might silence his critics.