As if tying the single-game touchdown mark wasn't enough.
With a 13-yard pitch-and-catch to Julius Thomas, quarterback Peyton Manning broke Tom Brady's passing touchdowns record for the first three games of a season during the Denver Broncos' 37-21 win over the Oakland Raiders Monday night.
Manning completed his record-setting pass to Thomas with 3:46 remaining in the first half at Sports Authority Field. He finished the first half completing 21 of 24 passes for 263 yards (including the two prior touchdowns to reach Nos. 10 and 11).
Denver moved to 3-0 in a 37-21 blowout win over Oakland. The Broncos have scored 127 points through the first three weeks, which is 31 more than any other team. Manning's 12 touchdown passes alone would be tied for the most in football among the 31 other franchises.
Brady set the mark in 2011, breaking a record that had stood since Charley Johnson of the then-St. Louis Cardinals set it in 1965. The first player to throw 10 or more touchdown passes in the first three games after the AFL-NFL merger was Dan Marino. He and Brady are the only two players to hit the mark twice.
As for Manning, he's on pace to make some history of his own. He began the 2013 campaign by embarrassing the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens under the season-opening, Thursday Night Football spotlight, tying the NFL single-game record with seven touchdown passes in a 49-27 romp. The 37-year-old signal-caller followed that up by besting his little brother Eli in a win over the New York Giants, adding two more touchdown passes to his total.
Manning is putting up these gaudy stats just two years removed from missing an entire season due to a career-threatening neck injury. The following offseason he was released by the Indianapolis Colts and began anew in Denver, where some wondered whether he'd ever be able to even approach the lofty heights of his prime.
Now, Manning is on pace for the most outstanding season of his 16-year NFL career. Once the NFL record-holder for touchdown passes in a season (49, which he set in 2004), Manning could now set his sights on taking that crown back from Brady as well.
Manning's three-touchdown performance puts him on pace for 64 touchdown passes in 2013, 14 better than Brady's record he set in 2007.
That figure is obviously unlikely to happen. Nonetheless, it's not a bad start for a guy who some thought was on his way out not too long ago.
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