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Peyton’s Take: Broncos at Cowboys

Posted Oct 6, 2013

Quarterback Peyton Manning passed Dan Marino for the second-most passing yards in NFL history during Denver’s Week 5 win at Dallas.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Although one streak ended for quarterback Peyton Manning, others continued.

While Manning threw his first interception of the season, he led the Broncos to their 16th-straight regular-season victory and eighth-straight road win.

Manning led the Broncos to 51 points, and the team needed every one of them in its 51-48 win at Dallas.

That’s second-highest in franchise history to the 52 the club scored last week.

“We talked about at halftime, we had to keep scoring,” Manning said. “Their offense is hot. The field goals were disappointing because their offense was scoring touchdowns in the second half. But, we kept scoring and then had the huge defensive play at the end, which was significant. We did not want to give them the ball back.”

The offense scored on nine of its 11 drives and did not enlist the services of Britton Colquitt, who did not punt once in the game.

Manning finished 33-of-42 for 414 yards with four touchdowns in the air, in addition to a second quarter rushing touchdown, for a 129.6 quarterback rating.

The rushing score was his first since the 2008 season.

“I’ve done it actually a couple of times, believe it or not. The key is, you want to do it about every five years or so,” Manning laughed. “If you do it every game, they’re going to be playing it, right?”

With nine seconds left in the third quarter, Manning threw his first interception of the season, ending a career-best streak of 226 pass attempts in a row without a pick – three shy of the Broncos’ franchise record.

The pass was intended for Eric Decker, but was picked off by cornerback Morris Claiborne near midfield.

The Cowboys turned the interception into a touchdown five plays later, taking their first lead since the second quarter.

“It was a bad decision,” Manning said of the pass. “We were trying to get something down the field and they were in zone coverage. I thought I might be able to get one in there – didn’t make a good throw, but it really wasn’t a good decision as well.”

Manning said he never really paid much attention to the fact that he had a interception-free streak going.

“I never really got into any kind of streak,” he said. “You’re always trying to protect the ball. Certainly that was not a good time because their offense was hot and we needed to offense. It really ended up allowing them to catch up and get the lead. It was a bad decision and a bad throw.”

Manning used all of his pass-catching weapons on his way to his second 400-yard game of the 2013 season.

All six players that caught a pass finished with more than 40 yards in the game, with Julius Thomas’ 122 yards leading the team.

Thomas hauled in a pair of touchdowns, with Eric Decker and Wes Welker recording the other two.

Decker’s started the team’s scoring after Denver faced a 14-0 deficit in the first quarter. His touchdown grab also helped atone for his fumble that ended the Broncos’ first drive of the day.

“I thought Decker, he was real determined after the turnover to come out and make some plays,” Manning said. “I thought the long ball down the left sideline was a very critical play against good coverage. And then his touchdown catch, that was good coverage as well on the back-shoulder fade.

“And then Demaryius made some really big-time catches in the fourth quarter, especially on the last two drives. Julius was solid, Welker’s catch might have been the catch of the game after we had a penalty there at the end, when we were down seven and we were second-and-goal, I think, on the 17. That was not ideal. You don’t have a lot of those on your call sheet. He made a heck of a catch and got hit versus tight coverage.”

Denver’s defense came up with the stop it needed when linebacker Danny Trevathan made a diving interception of Tony Romo’s pass with 2:04 to play and the game tied at 48.

Manning took advantage of the opportunity, achieving the goal of scoring without allowing the Cowboys offense a chance to take the field again.

After the Broncos’ first play of the drive went for a 13-yard completion to Julius Thomas to make it first-and-10 from the Dallas 11-yard line, the offense faced a challenge of getting a first down at the 1-yard line without scoring.

“We did not want to give them the ball back,” Manning said. “I’ve never been in a situation quite like that in the end where we needed to get the first down but we didn’t need to score. That difference was about half a yard. Knowshon and I were arguing at the end. He basically was asking, ‘How am I supposed to do that. How can I get half a yard but not get a yard and a half?’ I just said, ‘You can’t. You can’t score. You can’t do it. We have to get the first down, kick a field goal and get out of this place.’ We kept it pretty close there at the end.”

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