DENVER -- Sunday's game was, in a word, a rout.
So much so that with 22 seconds left in the third quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, quarterback
At that point, Denver led the Philadelphia Eagles 42-13. By the end of the afternoon, the Broncos had a 52-20 victory to move them to 4-0 for the seventh time in franchise history.
"Obviously it's a team sport, but Peyton and our offense did a great job of answering the bell," said defensive end
The offense, to Wolfe's point, scored early and often. In fact, all but two of the Broncos' drives ended with points -- excluding a final series that closed with a kneeldown to end the game.
It started with Denver's first drive of the game, which came after the defense forced a three-and-out. The nine-play, 74-yard series was capped by Manning's first of two touchdown passes to
The Eagles threatened on the ensuing drive, but the defense turned a first-and-10 from the Denver 23-yard line into a 35-yard Alex Henery field goal.
From there, it was
He tied his franchise record with a 105-yard kickoff return, his eighth special-teams score including the postseason since he joined the Broncos.
"I didn't have any doubt," Holliday said. "Once I broke the first wave and I saw
Once again, the Eagles drove deep into Denver territory on the ensuing drive, but a first-and-10 from the Denver 13 ultimately resulted in another Henery field goal.
"They're explosive, they're high-powered, they're fast, so we just had to hang in there and get those stops in the red zone and make them kick field goals," Wolfe said. "That kind of stuff adds up in the end."
Holliday's quick return in between long Eagles drives, however, meant the offense went more than 11 minutes of game time in between possessions.
The result was the group's only three-and-out of the afternoon.
"It’s something we have to be prepared to work on," Manning said. "They had some long drives – our defense did a good job holding them to field goals and of course Holliday’s return was great, but it does keep us off the field and for whatever reason we weren’t as sharp on that series after that lull when we needed to be”
Philadelphia capitalized on their field position and grabbed a touchdown on the next drive to pull within one point -- 14-13.
But it was all Broncos from that point on, to the tune of 38 unanswered points.
"Every week, we (preach) about who’s going to make that play," said wide receiver
In the process, Manning set a new NFL record with 16 touchdowns through the first four games of a season. The fact that he hasn't thrown an interception tied Milt Plum (1960) for the most passing touchdowns to start a season without throwing an interception. It's part of a streak of 201 consecutive passes without a pick -- a career best for Manning and the second-longest streak in team history. He also passed Brett Favre for the most four-touchdown games in NFL history -- he now has 24.
“I enjoyed that," Manning said of the offense's performance. "That was a good team that we played. We felt really motivated to score points against these guys. You saw their offense. They are capable of scoring points. Our defense did a heck of a job answering their challenge. We were motivated to be on top of our game offensively – to score points – touchdowns, not field goals. I thought we did that today. We certainly enjoyed that.”
Eight different Broncos caught a pass in the effort, and the 52 points were a Broncos franchise record. In the midst of the stretch was a third quarter that saw the team outscore Philadelphia 21-0 with 18 first downs and 214 yards without a third-down attempt.
"May have to give old Thunder an IV after this one," Manning joked of the club's horse mascot that gallops on the field after every score.
Denver's final touchdown of the game once again came on special teams, thanks to linebacker
"I was just unblocked and I was like, ‘Whoa,’" Johnson recalled after the game. "So I went straight to the punter, didn’t necessarily know what I was going to do and how I was going to block it. I just stuck an arm out and it happened – and then scoop and score. That’s something we work on every day throughout our turnover circuit in practice.”
That put the score at 49-13 in favor of the Broncos, and
Foles did hit wide receiver Jeff Maehl for a touchdown with 4:40 left in the game to give Philadelphia 20 points on the afternoon.
"Again, we’ve got to shut the door on teams in the fourth quarter," linebacker Shuan Phillips said, echoing the opinion of multiple defensive players in the locker room after the game.
Even after a 52-point outburst in a dominating win, all three sides of the ball said they can do more.
It's an attitude Head Coach John Fox welcomes as the team prepares to head back on the road in Week 5 to take on the Dallas Cowboys.
"I’m one of those guys who would rather understate, overproduce," Fox said. "We are not anywhere near done with our body of work. We are one quarter into it. I’m pleased with where we are. Truth be told, you can’t be better than 4-0 after four games. We’ll just try to continue to prepare and do the things necessary to get ready for each week, including Dallas this week.”