DENVER –Sunday afternoon at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, quarterback Demaryius Thomas's 295-yard, two-touchdown performance helped earn his team its sixth consecutive win to open the 2013 season.
In the 35-19 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the signal caller extended his NFL-record streak of games with a 90-plus passer rating to 19 even as he was held below 300 yards for the first time all season.
"It was a good win," Manning said. "We'll learn a lot from the film. There were some good things and certainly some things we can correct."
Manning started the Broncos' scoring with a pair of first-quarter touchdown passes to increase his season total to 22 scoring strikes, setting an NFL record for the most through six games.
His first touchdown pass came on a 3-yard throw to tight end Julius Thomas, which was followed by a 20-yard pass to wide receiver Wes Welker on Denver's next possession. Welker's touchdown catch gave him eight on the season – he has caught a score from Manning in all six Broncos games to start the season.
Jacksonville would respond with a pair of field goal drives to cut Denver's lead to 14-6. Denver was held scoreless in the second quarter and the offense went three-and-out three times in the period.
"Certainly, I guess after 14-0 there were some things that we didn't do well, but Jacksonville did some things that made it tough for us," Manning said. "They had some good defensive plays on first and second downs, which put in some third-and-longs and we had to throw short for whatever the reason was we weren't able to convert it. Got to give them credit as well."
After starting the season with four straight interception-free games, Manning threw his second pick of the season. This one was grabbed by linebacker Paul Posluszny, who returned it 59 yards for a touchdown in the final seconds of the first half. The pick-six cut Denver's lead to 14-12 at the intermission.
There were also a pair of lost fumbles on snaps that Manning said he was not concerned about turning into an ongoing issue.
"A bad decision to throw on the interception giving them the touchdown," Manning said. "I pulled out on a snap early under center, caused that fumble and then Manny had a low one on the shotgun play down there. Three turnovers as tough and then just had some things that we just didn't execute as well. (There were) some good things as well that we can learn from and that's what we have to do."
As it has in all five games this year in which it has received the ball to open the second half, the Denver offense marched down the field for a touchdown.
The eight-play, 80-yard drive was capped by the first of running back Knowshon Moreno's three second-half touchdown runs.
Moreno would score from 1, 8, and then 3 yards to account for all 21 of the Broncos' second-half points.
"Knowshon was huge," Manning said. "His red-zone running was huge. I thought the running game got going a little bit better second half."
"Knowshon was awesome, especially down there in the red zone."
The offensive line lost starting right tackle Orlando Franklin to injury on Moreno's first rushing touchdown.
When the unit came back on the field, starting right guard Louis Vasquez moved to Franklin's right tackle position and guard Chris Kuper came in to play right guard.
"Obviously we have our fingers crossed for Orlando," Manning said. "You hate to see that, but you've got to go play. You have to go out there. I know 'Kupe' has been hungry to get out there. He's worked real hard to get healthy and then pretty good versatility by Vasquez going to right tackle."
After Danny Trevathan came up with an interception in the final minute of the game, Manning and the Broncos' offense were able to close out the game with a pair of kneeldowns.
"It's not easy to win football games," Manning said. "I learned long ago never to take winning for granted and sometimes you have to remind your own players that it's tough to win in the NFL. You've got good football players and teams with a lot of pride and a lot of professionalism. So we appreciate this win."