DENVER –The torrid start to the season continued for Peyton Manning.
The 16th-year quarterback continued his assault on the record books with his performance in Denver's 52-20 win against Philadelphia in Week 4.
Manning finished 28-of-34 with 327 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions for a passer rating of 146.0.
"Guys are doing a good job in the passing game – protection has been solid," Manning said. "Guys are doing a good job. We're playing fast, we're getting a lot of plays in. very few third downs today, which means we're doing a good job on first and second down. Receivers are doing a good job with the ball after the catch, getting first downs, getting touchdowns. That puts a lot of pressure on the defense."
Manning finished with a QB rating of 146.0, which marked the highest of his career in games with at least 30 pass attempts and is his highest in any game since 2008.
Manning now has 16 touchdown passes and zero interceptions this year, tying Milt Plum's record set in 1960 for most scoring passes without an interception to start a season.
Two of his scoring passes today went to Wes Welker, who has now caught a scoring strike from Manning in all four games this season.
"Well, he is extremely difficult to cover," Manning said of Welker. "I think (Offensive
Coordinator) Adam (Gase) is doing a great job of using him in different ways. We get screens to him, we get quick screens to him – you saw we put him in the backfield today – that's something we haven't shown before. It's a credit to him that he has that type of versatility. You can do different things with him. He does a good job getting north as well – getting that ball in his hands and getting upfield."
As is typical, Manning spread the ball around, with eight different players catching passes in the win. Demaryius Thomas hauled in nine receptions, including a pair of touchdowns, and Eric Decker led all players with 88 yards.
After just missing Decker on a long bomb on the first Broncos play of the second quarter, the two connected on a 52-yard pass just after the two-minute warning in the first half.
"It was just an inch long on the overthrow and it was a really good route and one you'd like to have back and put a little more air in it," Manning said of the incompletion. "It's a credit to him that he is good on all those intermediate routes, but he can get down the field. We hit that post route later on the same defender and a deep throw. It's a credit to Eric. He can stretch the field vertically."
That long completion seemed to have the Broncos set up to score before halftime, but a 15-yard penalty followed by a sack held the Broncos off the board to end the half.
"We were disappointed that last drive of the first half not getting points," Manning said. "We were in field goal or even touchdown range and to have no points there was disappointing. But our second half execution was good once again."
That was one of just two Broncos possessions that didn't end in points.
The other followed Trindon Holliday's 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. While that play helped the Broncos on the scoreboard, Manning admitted that it disrupted the rhythm of the offense a bit.
"Well, I think I did have a little bit of an effect on us. We probably had our worst series, a three-and-out after that series," Manning said. "It's something we have to be prepared to work on. They had some long drives – our defense did a good job holding them to field goals and Holliday's return was great, but it does keep us off the field and for whatever reason we weren't as sharp on that series after that lull when we needed to be."
Manning and the offense was plenty sharp coming out of the locker room to start the second half.
The quarterback had a near perfect third quarter as the Broncos pulled away with the rout.
In the third quarter alone, Manning turned in numbers that most quarterbacks be happy with from an entire game.
He went 15-of-16 for 158 yards with three touchdowns and a rating of 147.4, while the offense picked up 18 first downs and racked up 214 net yards. Manning and company didn't even need to attempt a third down in the quarter.
"That's good execution on first and second down," Manning said of the third-quarter
outburst. "We didn't have penalties, we didn't have mistakes that were putting us in first-and-long, second-and-longs. We had some of those in the first half. You don't have to be in third down if you are doing your job on first and second down. Certainly that can put a lot of pressure on a defense – keep them from getting to their third-down package and substitute. That was good today."
After Denver outscored Philadelphia 21-0 in the third quarter to push the team's lead to 42-13, Manning's day was done.
He got to watch his backup, Brock Osweiler take the field for the final two Denver drives of the game.
But, just because Manning was done for the day doesn't mean he didn't stay focused on the game.
"I'm happy that Brock got to get in there and get some playing time and made some plays," Manning said. "I'm still tuned into the situation. We talk about finishing and playing 60-minute games. You never know – that situation in the fourth quarter is going to be critical. It's still something to learn from."
Now the Broncos will look to take those lessons learned in Sunday's Week 4 win on the road to Dallas, where they play another NFC East opponent.
"We have a tough road game next week against Dallas," Manning said.
"This was a good win. It's always good to play well at home. We have a good, tough test next week and we're going to try to do our jobs."