Ball from Peyton Manning's record-setting TD pass almost disappeared

When Peyton Manning hit Julius Thomas with a 25-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against Houston on Sunday, everyone at Reliant Stadium seemed to be aware of the fact that Manning had just broken Tom Brady's single-season record for touchdown passes. Actually, everyone in the stadium except for Julius Thomas.  

After scoring the touchdown, Thomas flicked the ball to the ground and began to celebrate. At that point, anyone on the field could have picked up the ball. Luckily for Thomas, teammate Eric Decker grabbed it.  

"I dropped the ball so fast to do my usual thing and Deck picked the ball up so fast," Thomas said, via Yahoo Sports. "I was like, 'Why did Deck picked the ball up so fast?' I'm not paying any attention and I came back to the sidelines and I'm sitting down on the bench and somebody said, 'That was the one!' Maybe I shouldn't have dropped it so carelessly, I should've kept it."

Decker didn't just grab the ball, as you can see below, he tried to sneak off with it so that Thomas would think he lost the record-setting football. 

This is Eric Decker casually walking off the field after Peyton Manning's record-setting touchdown pass. (Twitter)
This is Eric Decker casually walking off the field after Peyton Manning's record-setting touchdown pass. (Twitter)

As for Manning, he half-expected to never see the ball again and that's mainly because he thought Thomas would barter it for something for valuable: a phone number. 

"Julius, it wouldn't have surprised me if he had handed it to some babe up in the stands and tried to get her phone number in exchange for the ball," Manning said. "That'd be right up Julius' alley. That's pretty in line with his thinking often times." 

The football is safe and sound though and if Manning doesn't keep it, it will most likely be making it's way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. 

(Wink of the CBS Eye to Larry Brown Sports)

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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