HOUSTON –Demaryius Thomas re-wrote NFL history and in the process, led the Broncos to an AFC-West clinching 37-13 victory against the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Manning threw four touchdowns in the win, moving his season total to 51 – one more than Tom Brady threw in 2007.
"I really feel like it's a team accomplishment – certainly an offensive accomplishment," Manning said. "A lot of people played roles in this. I think it's a unique thing and a neat thing to be part of NFL history – even if it may be temporary. I personally think all season records are going down – especially if they go to 18 games and there won't be an asterisk next to them. So, (Tom) Brady will probably break it again next year if not the year after. We'll enjoy it for as long as it lasts and hopefully the Hall of Fame will just send the ball back once somebody throws for more."
Sunday marked the second time Manning has re-set the NFL single-season passing touchdown record
after previously accomplishing that feat with his 48 touchdown passes in 2004.
That year, he broke Dan Marino's record of 47 that had stood since 1984.
Manning said that with the evolution of the passing game in the NFL, he doesn't expect this record to stand anywhere near as long as Marino's did, which makes Marino's mark more impressive to him.
"2004 was kind of a unique chase. I still think Dan Marino's record in '84 is extremely special," Manning said. "Certainly the game has changed since then. For him to have thrown 48 touchdowns in '84 still is one of the most remarkable ones. It lasted for so long, and he was one of my favorite quarterbacks growing up.
"So, to break his record in 2004 was really special and then Tom's year in 2007 was nothing short of phenomenal. It's been a fun season and fun to be a part of NFL history with the whole group. Like I said though, I'm sure it's just a temporary record. But, I will enjoy it during this time."
After leading just 16-13 entering the fourth quarter, Manning and the Broncos' offense outscored the Texans 21-0 in the fourth quarter to put away the team's 12th win of the season.
The final points of the game came on Manning's 25-yard touchdown pass to Julius Thomas that came with 4:28 left in the game.
"On that particular play, had Julius out wide split by himself," Manning said." Obviously it makes the defense have a discussion. They have a couple receivers on the other side, you have to put your corners over there and put your linebacker out there on Julius. That's always a tough matchup for any linebacker as athletic as he is. He ran a good route and had good protection on the play and he made a great play getting into the end zone."
After the record-setting pass, Manning's teammates ran to the quarterback to celebrate the accomplishment.
"Very rarely during the course of a game – having some of my teammates come onto the field, having some defensive players coming out and high-fiving me – and I was telling them thanks back, thanks for all of their help," Manning said. "That is certainly a moment I'll remember. Lots of Broncos fans in the stands today. That was pretty unique as well. Certainly a moment I'll remember because of just the team bonding that went on during that time."
Coupled with Kansas City's loss to Indianapolis, the Broncos were able to clinch the franchise's 13th divisional championship, passing Oakland for the most AFC West titles.
Manning completed 32-of-51 passes for 400 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 113.2 passer rating in the victory.
He topped the 5,000-yard mark for the season for the first time in his career. He needs 265 passing yards in next week's game at Oakland to tie Drew Brees' NFL record in that category, which was set in 2011.
But when asked about what that record would mean to him, Manning said the touchdown record was more important because it meant he was helping the team score points and win games.
"Touchdowns to me means that you're scoring points and helping your team win games," Manning said. "You can have a lot of yards and not have points and not win games. So, this only means something because it has helped our teams win games and we won the division today in a competitive AFC West, that's a good thing."