At age 37, Peyton Manning may be climbing the age ladder but his play at the quarterback position seems to be climbing as well. The Denver Broncos faced the Baltimore Ravens in the first game of the 2013-2014 NFL regular season on Thursday night and Manning was prepared to do some damage out on the gridiron. At the end of the first quarter, Baltimore held a slight 7-0 lead. However, Manning struck back with a beautifully delivered 24-yard touchdown pass to tight end Julius Thomas to start off the second quarter. Manning and Thomas hooked up again in the second quarter for a 23-yard score. Despite the successful passing game of Denver, Baltimore headed into the locker room with a 17-14 lead at halftime.
Manning must have said enough of this nonsense because he put on a show in the second half. As a matter of fact, “show” is an understatement. Manning tossed a 28-yard touchdown to wide receiver Andre Caldwell and got newly acquired receiver Wes Welker into the mix with a pair of touchdown catches as well. In a matter of six minutes, the score went from 17-14, to 35-17 in favor of the Broncos. Manning was in the zone!
The fun was not even over. You know it is not a Broncos party without Demaryius Thomas. He’s practically Manning’s favorite target. In the fourth quarter, Manning threw a 26-yard back shoulder throw to Thomas for a touchdown. Manning also threw a screen pass and Thomas took it 78 yards to the end zone. That Ravens’ defense was torched during the entire second half and the Broncos had a field day on their way to a 49-27 dominating victory.
Ready for some eye-popping numbers? Here they come. Manning completed 27 of 42 passes for a total of 462 passing yards, 7 touchdowns, 0 interceptions and a ridiculous QB rating of 141.1. Everybody knows that Manning is great but when he performs like this, he simply looks legendary and untouchable. Manning is old but that does not stop him from performing at an optimal level and getting his name in the record books. Manning’s seven touchdown passes on Thursday night makes him the sixth player in NFL history to have 7 touchdown passes in one game. He also joins New York Giant great Y.A. Tittle as the second player to have 7 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in a game. Manning is also the first player in NFL history to have 3 games of at least six touchdown passes. For all you fantasy football lovers, Manning’s 46 fantasy points last night was the second-most ever by a quarterback(Michael Vick had 49 once). It is clear that like wine, Manning becomes a finer quarterback as the seasons go by. From the looks of last night’s game, Manning is as precise and deadly as ever. Defensive coordinator’s are going to be pulling their hair out while trying to find a way to contain Manning this year!