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Oakland at Denver

Nearly flawless Manning helps Broncos breeze past Raiders

CBSSports.com wire reports

DENVER -- Peyton Manning slapped his hands together five, six, seven times and barked out the signals. A few seconds later, Wes Welker was all alone, cradling the quarterback's latest touchdown pass.

All part of another impeccably crafted victory for Manning and the Denver Broncos, who rolled over the Oakland Raiders 37-21 on Monday night. Denver's 127 points lead the league and are 31 more than second-place Green Bay.

It was Denver's 14th consecutive regular-season victory, tying the franchise record set in 1998 when the Broncos won their second Super Bowl.

Manning went 32 for 37 for 374 yards and put his name in the record books a few more times while outwitting the overmatched Raiders (1-2).

"You see flashes of good things," Manning said. "When we're executing and not making mistakes, we can go the distance. We can go 80 yards, take advantage of a short field."

Manning's 12 touchdown passes are one more than Tom Brady's old record for the first three games, set in 2011. Manning still has yet to throw an interception, which matches a record held by Michael Vick, who also threw 12 touchdowns before his first pick in 2010.

"We get to play with one of the greatest quarterbacks and football players to ever play the game," said tight end Julius Thomas, who caught one of the touchdowns. "He's great. There's no other way to cut it up or slice it."

As much as the numbers, it was Manning's deciphering of the Oakland defense that made jaws drop in this one.

His first touchdown, a 2-yard pass to Eric Decker (eight catches, 133 yards), came after a subtle play-action fake that froze the defense and left Decker uncovered in the back of the end zone.

Manning's targets for the next two touchdowns -- Welker and Thomas -- didn't have defenders within three steps of them when they caught the passes. Wide open. A sure sign that Manning had diagnosed the defense he was looking at well before the snap and knew exactly where he wanted to go with the ball.

"You see what he can do. I don't even know too many people who can do that in Madden," running back Ronnie Hillman said, referring to the popular video game. "It's pretty cool to have a quarterback like that."

OK, so the evening wasn't perfect. There were the five incompletions, though two of them were flat-out drops and another two hit receivers in the hands, but would have been difficult catches. The Broncos (3-0) settled for three field goals and had to punt once. Rookie Montee Ball lost another fumble. Denver came a field goal short of reaching 40 points for the third consecutive game.

And Manning's prediction that Chris Clark would be a seamless replacement for injured Ryan Clady as his blindside protector didn't exactly pan out. Lamarr Houston beat Denver's new starting left tackle badly in the third quarter for a sack and strip that halted a drive that had reached the Raiders 13.

But Denver was ahead 30-7 at that point.

And, really, any complaints about Denver's offense seem like quibbling given what's gone on so far this season. The record for touchdown passes in a season is 50, set by Brady in 2007. If he keeps up this pace, Manning will throw 64.

"Any inch of mistake that he sees, he's going to put the ball there and find that hole," Raiders cornerback Mike Jenkins said.

As for Denver's biggest rival, the Raiders -- since Manning arrived, the Broncos have outscored them 100-40 in three runaway wins.

The Raiders offense made one big play before the game got out of hand. Terrelle Pryor (19 for 28 for 281 yards), who left the game late with a concussion, hit Denarius Moore in the middle of the field and Broncos defensive backs Duke Ihenacho and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie whiffed on the tackle. Moore went 73 yards to cut Oakland's deficit to 17-7 in the second quarter.

All of which simply gave Manning the ball back more quickly. On the first play of the next drive, he hit Decker, who spun away from his defender for a 61-yard gain. Three plays later, the Broncos were up 17 again after Manning found Thomas on an out route for a 13-yard score.

The Broncos defense, now halfway through Von Miller's suspension and playing again without injured Champ Bailey (foot), allowed only 9 yards on the ground to Darren McFadden, who came into the game leading the league with 223 yards from scrimmage. McFadden did, however, throw a touchdown -- a 16-yard connection to Marcel Reece on a halfback option -- and get a late rushing score.


Broncos DBs Duke Ihenacho and Tony Carter each left with ankle injuries. ... DL Robert Ayers, who took the starting spot vacated when Elvis Dumervil left, had two sacks for Denver. ... Pryor had nine rushes for 36 yards to reach 198 yards on the ground this season.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
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Peyton Manning and Wes Welker embrace after connecting on a touchdown pass in the second quarter.  (USATSI)
Peyton Manning and Wes Welker embrace after connecting on a touchdown pass in the second quarter. (USATSI)


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Mon. Sept. 23Final
Pass: T. Pryor (19-28, 281) P. Manning (32-37, 374)
Rush: T. Pryor (4-36) R. Hillman (9-66)
Rec: D. Moore (6-124) E. Decker (8-133)
Scoring Summary
TDEric Decker catches a 2 yard pass from Peyton Manning (Matt Prater kick is good). Drive: 8 plays, 55 yards in 3:23.
FGMatt Prater makes a 53 yard kick. Drive: 6 plays, 24 yards in 3:42.
TDWes Welker catches a 12 yard pass from Peyton Manning (Matt Prater kick is good). Drive: 10 plays, 80 yards in 4:35.
TDDenarius Moore catches a 73 yard pass from Terrelle Pryor (Sebastian Janikowski kick is good). Drive: 3 plays, 80 yards in 1:30.
TDJulius Thomas catches a 13 yard pass from Peyton Manning (Matt Prater kick is good). Drive: 4 plays, 80 yards in 2:17.
FGMatt Prater makes a 41 yard kick. Drive: 7 plays, 38 yards in 1:30.
FGMatt Prater makes a 40 yard kick. Drive: 13 plays, 55 yards in 6:19.
TDMarcel Reece catches a 16 yard pass from Darren McFadden (Sebastian Janikowski kick is good). Drive: 6 plays, 70 yards in 2:26.
TDRonnie Hillman runs for 1 yard (Matt Prater kick is good). Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards in 3:50.
TDDarren McFadden runs for 1 yard (Sebastian Janikowski kick is good). Drive: 4 plays, 20 yards in 1:04.
Players of the Game

P. Manning
Att 37
Comp 32
Yds 374
TD 3

D. Moore
Rec 6
Yds 124
Avg 20.7
TD 1
T. Pryor19/2828110
M. Flynn1/21900
D. McFadden1/11610
M. Jenkins1/1200
T. Pryor436023
D. McFadden12915
J. Ford1404
D. Moore6124173
B. Butler354029
M. Reece445119
R. Streater342028
M. Rivera221020
J. Ford115015
R. Jennings215014
B. Ross1202
P. Manning32/3737430
R. Hillman966119
M. Ball1161012
K. Moreno123909
P. Manning3-200
E. Decker8133161
D. Thomas1094022
W. Welker784132
J. Thomas337114
R. Hillman112012
K. Moreno1606
J. Tamme1505
V. Green1303
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
KC 26 Final
PHI 16
HOU 9 Final
BAL 30
NYG 0 Final
CAR 38
GB 30 Final
CIN 34
STL 7 Final
DAL 31
CLE 31 Final
MIN 27
TB 3 Final
NE 23
ARI 7 Final
NO 31
SD 17 Final
TEN 20
DET 27 Final
WAS 20
ATL 23 Final
MIA 27
BUF 20 Final
NYJ 27
IND 27 Final
SF 7
JAC 17 Final
SEA 45
CHI 40 Final
PIT 23