The score gave Denver its first lead of the game, but came with a scary moment -- Manning was pulled to the ground by defensive lineman Tyson Jackson after the throw, and his head hit the turf hard.
"Peyton was banged on his head," Head Coach John Fox said Monday. "Our medical staff does a great job. He was cleared in the locker room at halftime to come out in the third quarter."
Manning felt it was a non-issue after the game, saying simply that he was "OK." After all, he threw for 148 more yards and another touchdown in the second half.
ONE GAME AT A TIME
This Sunday, the Broncos have a chance to wrap up their second consecutive AFC West title with a win, a San Diego loss or a tie by both teams.
But Fox said the team isn't thinking about anything other than the task ahead of it.
“We don’t want to worry about all that as much as we want to worry about the Tampa Bay Bucs in all three phases," Fox said. "That’ll be the mantra when we gather the team back up on Wednesday.”
The Buccaneers, winners of four of their last five, are coming off a hard-fought, one-point loss to the 10-1 Atlanta Falcons. Denver understands the challenges that team -- led on offense by quarterback Josh Freeman, running back Doug Martin and wide receiver Vincent Jackson -- brings with it to Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
"They may be as hot of a team as there is in the league right now," Fox said. "That’s really where all our focus is right now. We can’t influence what everybody else does against who, as far as the last five games, but we know we’ve got to take care of this week and that’ll be our mindset.”
Fox prefers to divide the season into quarters, with the goal each quarter being a 3-1 record. The club was just behind that in the first quarter of the season at 2-2 and met the goal during the second quarter, going 3-1.
This Sunday marks the final game of the third quarter, and the Broncos have a chance to go 4-0 in the stretch.
"Our goals are still alive with what we want to accomplish, that is win our division and get into the tournament," Fox said. "That’s still our goal and to us the best formula is one game at a time and put all our focus and energy into that particular opponent."
CONFIDENCE IN MORENO
There were no such questions within the locker room.
"I thought he had a very good performance -- we kind of expected it," Fox said. "I think his teammates did. I know I did, just how he’s gone about his business up until that point. Everybody had great confidence in him and he came through for us. We’ve got pretty much a running back by committee as it is, and he’ll start out there as the starter.”
On 24 touches, Moreno racked up 111 total yards. He led the team with 20 of the club's 24 runs, picking up 85 of his yards on the ground.
The fact that he wasn't a part of the team's gameplan for Weeks 2 through 11 didn't affect Moreno's preparation.
"As far as him coming off an ACL (injury suffered in 2011), it does take time until you’re 100 percent," Fox said. "You’re cleared to play but you’re not as exact as you probably think you should be. He needed some time and he had a great attitude, great mindset throughout that period of time. Just by the nature of this league -- injuries are part of the game - we knew we needed him, and he went about it right. So that’s why he looked so good.”