ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Last season, offensive lineman Manny Ramirez stepped in when the team needed him, starting 11 games at right guard after Chris Kuper was lost to injury.
This year, the versatile seventh-year pro switched positions to center, making his first career start at that spot in a Week 1 win that saw quarterback Peyton Manning tie an NFL record with seven touchdown passes.
On Wednesday, Ramirez was rewarded for his performance with a two-year contract extension that will keep him in Denver through the 2015 season.
"(Ramirez) has done a heck of a job in everything we have asked of him," Manning said in late August.
Thursday night, Manning dropped back to throw 42 passes and ended up with 462 passing yards. Ramirez did not allow a sack in the game while playing every offensive snap.
Head Coach John Fox, who said the team had Ramirez pegged as its starting center since the offseason, was impressed with what he saw from the lineman.
"I thought he performed well," Fox said. "That was a very formidable front that we played against. I haven't seen everybody, but they're in the top five in the league. They've got more than one deep. I thought, all-in-all, was it perfect? No. But for a first outing, I thought our offensive line matched up very well."
Ramirez has started 27 of 36 regular-season games played with Denver and Detroit. He played in a career-high 15 games in the 2012 regular season, which saw the Broncos earn the AFC's No. 1 seed with a 13-3 record. He committed just three penalties in that span, and Pro Football Focus gave him a positive grade for the year.
The former Texas Tech standout is one of three former Red Raiders on the Broncos' roster, including Ramirez's offensive line teammate Louis Vasquez.