HOUSTON --Peyton Manning addressed the media after the Broncos 37-13 win in Houston. Here is what he had to say about setting the NFL record for touchdown passes in a season.
On the record
"I really feel like it's a team accomplishment – certainly an offensive accomplishment. 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. A lot of receivers caught a lot of touchdowns, made a lot of special plays. Eric (Decker's) touchdown today was typical of a lot of great catches that these guys have made all season long. Protection, blocking by the tight ends, running backs – playcalling and scheming – Adam Gase has been awesome all year and the coaches that have helped him call those plays – and the defense getting us the ball. Mike Adams' interception, in my opinion, was the play of the day today. We were in a little rut on kind of both sides of the ball and that really springboarded the whole team. I'm certainly really appreciative of it."
On whether it means more coming after his injuries
"Not necessarily. 2004 was kind of a unique chase. I still think Dan Marino's record in '84 is extremely special. 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."
On having five players with double-digit TDs
"It is a credit to all those guys. It is a credit to Clancy (Barone) and Tyke (Tolbert) – the receivers and tight ends coaches for getting those guys ready. Certainly some great individual efforts on all those guys' parts. Great route running, great attention to detail. Obviously, all those guys are super talented, otherwise they wouldn't be in the NFL, but a lot of credit goes to them and the work ethic they've shown this year. I'm certainly proud to call all those guys teammates."
On Julius Thomas not knowing he caught the record-setting TD
"Yeah – it wouldn't have surprised me if Julius would have handed it to some babe up in the stands and tried to get her phone number in exchange for the ball. That would be right up Julius' ally. That's pretty in-line with his thinking oftentimes. Great catch, great route by him and like I said, Decker's catch was awesome. That was probably one of the best ones of the year in my opinion."
On possibly getting the passing yardage record next week
"Yeah, passing yards – touchdowns to me, means it's helping your team win games. To me, if we would have had a losing record and you break an individual record and you're just throwing a lot of yards and you don't have a chance to make the postseason that doesn't mean a whole lot. Touchdowns to me means that you're scoring points and helping your team win games. That's something I think means a little more. 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."
On passing for lots of yards and winning after his surgeries
"I think it's well-documented, certainly that this is the second chapter of my career. I certainly did not know what to expect coming off that injury – new team, new players, really a new physical state after an injury. I had no idea what to expect. I put a lot of time and a lot of hard work into it, but I've received a lot of help along the way from coaches and trainers and strength coaches and teammates. I'm very grateful. When something like this happens, it just reminds me even more how grateful and thankful I am for a lot of people that have helped me during this second chapter."
On whether there was any talk about the record late in the game before it happened
"Nothing came my way. I had no idea that we had a chance to secure the division – I did not realize that the Chiefs had lost the game. Coach Fox said go play ball, that's what he told Adam and that's what Adam told me and that's what we did."
On the 51st TD
"Well, we had put Julius out wide – I think Adam has done a great job all year of putting players in different positions, whether it is a running back out wide or Eric or D.T. in the slot – putting them in different places. On that particular play, had Julius out wide split by himself, four receivers to the other side. 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."
On celebrating the record with his teammates
"It was very special. Very rarely during an NFL game do you get to have a moment like that. In 2004, when we broke Marino's record we had to go for two, and we really did not get to enjoy it. We went for two, and converted it to tie the game, and then the game ended up going into overtime. And then we ended up winning the game. So we got to enjoy it after the game in the locker room, but 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. 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."
On what happened after the record-setting touchdown catch
"I saw Julius score the touchdown and I remember it just kind of brought a smile to my face. After that a lot of people were coming toward me and whacking me on the head and slapping me. I was trying to come out of that unscathed. I appreciated coaches and teammates coming up and I had a chance to thank each one of them as well, because I'm truly grateful for all of their help and support."
On whether he would have thought this was possible after his surgeries
"No, probably not. i had no real expectations because I couldn't really get any doctor or anyone to give me some sort of gauge or timetable for strength recovery. Believe me, I asked every question you possible could. Just the injury I was dealing with – there was major unpredictability. A lot of them said, 'Maybe it will come back to this level, maybe it will not.' there was definitely some wait-and-see. Like I said, I am grateful for the people that have helped me along the way. I have certainly put some time and work into it, but no, it would be hard to say I could have imagined this at that point. We're excited about the win and hopefully we can keep it going next week."