ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- On Sunday, Peyton Manning's jersey left Cincinnati just as white as it was prior to the matchup with the sack-hungry Bengals.
Not only was Manning not sacked in Sunday afternoon's win at Cincinnati, he wasn't even hit. It was the third straight game the Broncos have kept the quarterback from being sacked, marking the fourth time Denver has accomplished such a streak and the first time since 2008.
Tight end Joel Dreessen believes it's a combination of several different factors that have led to great protection for Manning.
"It's the ball getting out on time, which Peyton is doing a great job with," Dreesen said. "The wide receivers know when to adjust their routes to the hot routes. And obviously, (the front five) are doing a great job of blocking those guys up front. Tight ends and running backs, too, because we're asked to hold up in pass protection a lot."
In each of the two contests before Cincinnati, Manning was hit just once.
Another contributor to the quarterback's safety, Dreessen said, is the play-action pass. By faking the run and selling the defense on it - even if it's just a split second - it keeps the opponent from getting a good jump on his pass rush.
"Any time you can get a little play-action sell, those special pass-rushers aren't just teeing off on you," Dreessen said. "They can't just use the moves they work on over and over again. The play-action stuff definitely helps."
PANTHERS' READ-OPTION ATTACK FAMILIAR TO FOX
With a dynamic, dual-threat quarterback under center, the Carolina Panthers use a read-option offensive attack that Head Coach John Fox believes is similar to what the Broncos used last year.
The prior knowledge of that type of offense, Fox believes will fare well come Sunday.
"Those are things that will help us in our preparation," Fox said of the team's experience using the read-option. "They've got some gifted players on offense."
Still, containing Cam Newton is a challenge that Fox doesn't take lightly. Last year's NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year is coming off one of his most efficient games of the year, compiling 238 all-purpose yards, two touchdowns and zero turnovers in a win at Washington.
The Broncos spent time evaluating Newton's tape from college in preparation for the 2011 draft, in which they held the No. 2 overall selection. Newton went No. 1 overall to the Panthers, then the Broncos snagged Von Miller with the next pick.
"He's a terrific talent," Fox said about Newton. "He's big, strong, fast, and he's got a very strong arm. I think that was indicative of the kind of rookie season he had a year ago."
HOLLIDAY TO THE HOUSE
Reflecting on his record-breaking 105-yard touchdown return that started the second half, wide receiver Trindon Holliday pointed out the opportunity that he saw on the play.
"They overplayed the outside," he said. "When I saw the seam in the inside, I just cut it up in the inside of the seam and that was it."
Once Holliday made the cut inside, the "first wave" of defenders was behind him. That's when he broke it to the sideline and knew nobody was keeping him from the end zone.
"I saw that one of my guys had made a block on the kicker, so I just pushed it to the outside and that was it," Holliday recalled.
In one play, the Broncos' waiver-wire acquisition from a month ago proved to be a wise one. Fox believes the team will continue to reap the benefits of signing the second-year player as he continues to improve throughout the year.
"I think our personnel department did a great job of putting in a claim and we were fortunate enough to get him," Fox said. "I think he'll just continue to get better as we move forward, whether it's punts or kicks."
On Monday, Fox updated the status of three Broncos who were hurt during the Cincinnati game.
Tight end Jacob Tamme and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas each left the game at some point on Sunday but returned soon after.
Fox said that both players "will be fine" as he called Tamme's injury a "hip bruise" and Thomas' a "knee bruise."
Guard Chris Kuper, who suffered an ankle injury, was the only Bronco to leave the game and not return. Fox confirmed that Kuper has no broken bones.
"It was good to see it was not as serious as the other injuries he's had this season," Fox said. "Kup is such a great guy. He's well-liked by his teammates, who voted him captain. He's had a bad string of some luck here lately."
Kuper's status will be updated after Wednesday's practice.