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Next Day Notebook: Manning On Point

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- In his 14th year in the league -- first with the Denver Broncos -- quarterback Peyton Manning's numbers are as good as they have ever been.

Manning is completing 68 percent of his passes, a mark he has reached just once in his NFL career. It is the most accurate completion percentage among starting quarterbacks in the NFL, and well above his career average of 65 percent.

His quarterback rating of 104.6 is better than any past year except for one.

Head Coach John Fox said what Manning is doing in the circumstances he is doing it in is "pretty historical."

"To come back after the injury he had, the residual of the injury he had, it takes a special guy," Fox said. "To come to a new team, new teammates, new city - everything about it is new other than the conference - it's pretty amazing, actually."

With 3,502 passing yards on the season, Manning has thrown for nearly 292 yards per game. That puts him on pace for 4,669 yards by season's end, which would be his second-highest single-season total.

His 29 touchdowns to nine interceptions makes him one of five quarterbacks in the league with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of better than 3-to-1. He has accomplished that feat in just two prior seasons.

Manning's performance so far in 2012 has been, as Fox said, amazing. But now is no time to think about the success he and the Broncos have enjoyed in the last two months.

The focus is on continuing to win football games and improve every week.

"Ultimately, it's about trying to get the win," Manning said. "You always want to play better each week. You want to be playing your best football, hopefully, here in the month of December."


Time and time again on Sunday, Manning looked Jacob Tamme's way, and the tight end delivered on numerous occasions.

Tamme had his most productive game as a Bronco in Sunday's win against the Buccaneers, catching a game-high nine passes for 89 yards. Five of those catches moved the chains for the Denver offense.

"Obviously with (wide receiver) Brandon (Stokley) being out tonight, guys needed to step up and we did a pretty good job of that overall," Tamme said after the game.

The fifth-year tight end was targeted a game-high and personal season-high 13 times on the day. Because the Broncos use three different tight ends most games, it's never clear which one will get the most opportunities in the passing game. He just knows he has to be ready whenever Manning calls his number.

"The way that we play tight ends and the different personnel groupings that we have, it's going to vary game to game," Tamme said. "We really don't have much of an idea. Just kind of different games flow different ways. Sometimes Joel (Dreessen) will get a touchdown or two and sometimes I'll get chances."


Following Sunday's win, defensive tackle Mitch Unrein looked back on his first career touchdown reception with a sense of humor.

"It felt like a really long time when that ball was floating toward me," Unrein laughed. "I was like, 'Oh, just don't drop it, just don't drop it.' Luckily, it hit my hands and I caught it and wrapped it up with both hands. I kind of stood there for a second and I was like, 'Dang, I just scored a touchdown. That's pretty cool.' Then I had no dance afterward, no skills like Von Miller."

Asked how he earned the role of defensive tackle/tight end/blocking fullback, he joked, "Maybe because I have a hard head or something."

Fox was asked the same thing on Monday, and he, too, made a joke about the situation.

"We took a little poll, and he got the most votes," Fox smiled. "So he is the guy we've been working with."

To offer a more legitimate answer, he pointed to Unrein's versatility - still with a hint of humor.

"He has good hands, so that helps," Fox said. "He can be a dual-threat, a blocker and you never know -- he might be able to run it a little bit."

He did, however, eliminate the possibility of Unrein throwing a pass.

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