Manning’s 7 TDs lead Broncos past Ravens 49-27
DENVER (AP) — Denver quarterback Peyton Manning threw a record-tying seven touchdowns as the Broncos beat the Baltimore Ravens 49-27 in Thursday’s NFL season-opening game.
Manning became the sixth man in NFL history to throw seven TD passes in a game and the first since Minnesota’s Joe Kapp in 1969.
“I felt like we had to keep scoring because Baltimore can score at any time,” said Manning, who was 27 of 42 for 462 yards with no interceptions for an off-the-charts quarterback rating of 141.1.
Connecting with his most prized addition, Wes Welker, former college basketball player Julius Thomas and Demaryius Thomas for two TDs each, Manning directed Denver to comfortable win over the reigning NFL champs.
“He’s phenomenal. To continue to come out every year and put that kind of performance on for us, it’s amazing,” Thomas said.
Nobody had ever put up 49 points on the Ravens in their 18-year history.
Thursday’s game was not just a season-opener but a chance for vengeance for the Broncos, having been knocked out of the playoffs — in double overtime — by Baltimore en route to its Super Bowl win.
Jacoby Jones, who was a Baltimore hero of that win over the Broncos in January — had his night cut short by a collision with a when he went back to field a punt and teammate.
The Broncos waited all offseason for the rematch, then for 33 minutes more when a lightning storm in the area delayed the start.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, armed with a new six-year, $120.6 million contract, matched Manning score for score in the first half but had to play catch-up after falling behind 35-17 early in the third quarter. He went 34 of 62 for 362 yards with two TDs and two interceptions.
It was such a runaway win that the Broncos were throwing away touchdowns by the end. Linebacker Danny Trevathan fumbled just shy of the goal line, losing control of the ball as he began a premature celebration.
Manning’s seventh TD pass covered only a few yards in the air but Demaryius Thomas, a former first-round pick, hauled in the pass and turned on the jets, racing past several tired defenders for a 78-yard play that capped Denver’s big night.
“We gave them too many easy things,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “Even right down there at the end, fighting like crazy to create a play, and gave them that touchdown at the end. That’s the bottom line — you can’t give them easy plays.”
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