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Chemistry On Display

Posted Oct 29, 2012

The timing between Peyton Manning and his receivers was near perfect on Sunday night, leading to stellar stat lines for Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.

DENVER -- Without chemistry and confidence, Denver's last two touchdowns of the night likely fall to the ground.

Peyton Manning's second and third touchdown passes to third-year receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, displayed the trust and timing that the teammates have been building since the offseason.

Both were from the 2-yard line or closer. In blanketed coverage, the routes had to be exact and the passes had to be perfect.

They were.

"That's what I feel like we've basically been working on," Thomas said. "Trying to get on the same page, knowing what he wants, knowing when to slow my route down or when to cut it off short. If you're on the same page and you know what spots to be, you get better, you get open. Take your time and it comes, it comes and it keeps coming."

The performance that the Broncos' two young wideouts produced in front of a national audience on Sunday Night Football - 11 catches, 180 yards and three touchdowns - was a direct result of being paired up with a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback and doing everything possible to take advantage of it.

"Going through each week, you know that you're working on different things that are going to make you get better," Thomas said. "It's helping my game out. I feel like I'm getting better and better every week."

Nobody knows the upside of clicking with Manning better than wide receiver Brandon Stokley. The 14th-year receiver has preached the importance of focus and attention to detail to the pair of young receivers since Manning joined them as a Bronco. They've listened to the advice of their teammate, and now it's paying off.

"I think they've taken that to heart," Stokley said. "They put the work in and they deserve everything that they get."

All season, Manning has talked about the unique qualities in his receivers that if combined with great preparation, could yield tremendous results. His words came to fruition on Sunday night.

"It's very obvious his size, strength and speed," the 15th-year quarterback said of Thomas. "I feel like he's working on his craft every week with the coaches, and he and I spend a lot of time throwing routes, being together, and competing one-on-one against our good corners certainly makes you better. So I think he's working just to become a complete receiver."

A complete receiver is exactly what Thomas was on Sunday night. On the first drive of the game, he made a leaping catch 41 yards downfield to set Denver up for its first score.

"When I see a ball in the air, it's mine," he said. "Just go up and get it."

Thomas also showed what he is capable of with the ball in his hand, catching screen passes and breaking tackles to gain yards after the catch and after contact.

"I love the screen passes," Thomas said. "That's one of the things that makes me a better receiver, because when I get the ball in my hand, I feel like I can just make guys miss. It's hard for me to get tackled. I think that's one of the best things in my game."

As the chemistry grows, the in-game production continues and the confidence grows with it.

"I think we're on the same page," Thomas said. "I feel like stuff can always get better, but I feel like I know what he wants and he feels like he knows what I can do and where I'm going to be. I know I'm going to be in the right spot."

Stokley has been right there throughout the process, and has done his fair share of mentoring as well. He accepts the playful nickname "Daddy," and calls Decker and Thomas his "kids."

Just like a real father, Stokley can't help but grin when asked about the young wideouts' success.

"They both played great," he said. "I love watching those guys do their thing and make great catches and score touchdowns."

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