DENVER -- **You could start throwing passes at Mount Evans or St. Mary's Glacier, make it all the way down through the Front Range to Sports Authority Field at Mile High, and you still wouldn't have traversed as much air distance as Peyton Manning has during his 18-season career.
40.8 miles. No one has thrown for more after Manning's 4-yard completion to Ronnie Hillman in the first quarter here Sunday took him past the 71,838-yard standard established by Brett Favre during a 19-season career that ended after the 2010 season.
Manning received a standing ovation after the completion, which came 4:23 into the first quarter. But it was the high point of one of the most frustrating days of his career -- a 5-of-20, 35-yard performance in which he threw four interceptions and finished with a 0.0 quarterback rating before being lifted for Brock Osweiler in the third quarter.
In the wake of the 29-13 loss, Manning didn't want to reflect on the milestone, as historically notable as it was.
Manning's long journey began with a 15-yard pass to Marshall Faulk nine minutes, 25 seconds into his first regular-season game, played against the Miami Dolphins at the since-demolished RCA Dome on Sept. 6, 1998.
In the years that followed, the yardage came in torrents. It came via 14 seasons with at least 4,000 yards; he's now on pace for a 15th.
But most importantly, the yardage came with success. Manning isn't just a stat monster; he's a winner. Each of the last 13 seasons he's started has ended in the postseason, and with at least 10 regular-season wins. He's well on track to extend both of those streaks this year.
Manning's teams passed early and often because for so many years, it was what they did best. And nobody ever passed the football better than Manning and the Broncos in 2013, when he set league records for passing yardage (5,477) and touchdown passes (55).
Every yard that follows for Manning will represent a new record, and a new bar for future quarterbacks to clear. But they'll have a long journey ahead of them, a nearly 41-mile trek that took the most prolific passer in NFL history nearly 18 years to traverse.
Relive Peyton Manning's career thus far through our collection of photos from his first year