The freight train that is the Denver Broncos offense kept on rolling in Week 4.
Quarterback Peyton Manning had four touchdown passes, Knowshon Moreno had one on the ground and the special-teams units accounted for two more as the Broncos stampeded to a 52-20 rout of the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon.
The NFL on ESPN Twitter account offered some analysis as the score went final:
Denver dominates the Eagles winning 52-20. Broncos are 4-0 and have won 15 straight regular season games.— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) September 29, 2013
As NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano and ESPN's Stats & Info noted, the 52 points scored by Denver will go down in league record books:
52 points, highest total in Broncos franchise history— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) September 29, 2013
52 points by @DenverBroncos -- most by any team against Eagles since Giants scored 62 against them in 1972— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 29, 2013
Unless, of course, the Broncos surpass that mark later this season, which isn't out of the realm of possibility after watching the talent assembled propel John Fox's team to a 4-0 record.
Not surprisingly, the Broncos got off to a fast start.
After the Eagles punted their first possession away, it took just nine plays and a little less than four minutes for Manning to find Wes Welker for a six-yard touchdown connection. Philadelphia responded with a field goal, but speedy returner Trindon Holliday made sure any Eagles momentum was short-lived.
The former LSU star returned the ensuing kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown, notching his fourth career special-teams touchdown and second of the 2013 season to give Denver a 14-3 lead.
We knew points would be plentiful at Sports Authority Field. At halftime, the Eagles were actually in good position to pull off an upset. The Broncos had a 21-13 lead at the break, but Michael Vick and Co. had to feel great about being within one possession coming out of the locker room for the third quarter.
That quickly changed.
Manning had three touchdown passes in the third quarter, part of 38 unanswered points Denver scored to put the game away. He fired two to emerging star Demaryius Thomas and found Welker for a second time to push Denver's lead to 42-13 by the start of the fourth quarter.
The team's official Twitter account had Manning's stats through three quarters—numbers that would go on to represent his full-game total—with this post:
Though Denver dominated the scoreboard, Philadelphia kept pace on the stat sheet. With 450 yards of total offense, the Eagles trailed the Broncos by just 22 in that category. Eighteen different receivers caught a pass on either side, including 10 different Eagles.
Who will win the AFC?
Neither team had a turnover.
But going 2-of-5 in the red zone and giving up two touchdowns on special teams doomed the Eagles in this one. The offense in Philly is lively, but the defense hasn't proved reliable enough to win games.
It's clear the Broncos are currently the class of the NFL, while Philadelphia's take-home silver lining is that the NFC East is collectively 4-12 through four weeks.
Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos: A+
It's fun to watch a future Hall of Famer do what he does best.
Manning is at the top of his game during the "twilight" years of his NFL career, as this tweet from ESPN's SportsCenter would suggest:
Peyton Manning now has 1,470 Pass Yds, 16 TD, 0 Int; ties NFL record for most TD pass w/ 0 Int to start season (M. Plum). (via @EliasSports)— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 29, 2013
With four more touchdowns and only six incompletions in 34 passing attempts, Manning continues to defy the odds and put up numbers—and victories—that place him alongside the league's elite.
Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles: C+
Vick isn't entirely to blame for his team's loss on Sunday, but there were decisions he made and throws he missed that could have kept Philadelphia close in the third quarter.
As Smart Football noted, his lack of accuracy in situations where most teams have an advantage on the outside is crippling production:
I hate QB changes and PHI has bigger issues, but if Vick can't be accurate/decisive enough to beat man coverage it will be an issue all year— Smart Football (@smartfootball) September 29, 2013
With 289 yards of total offense, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions, Vick's line is an average one. Average performances don't work when your team allows 52 points.
Denver Special Teams: A+
Anytime you manage one touchdown on special teams, it's been a good day.
Two is just unfair.
The Broncos made the most of their chances when the offense and defense were off the field, recording kick-return and punt-block touchdowns.
Holliday's long score put a damper on Philadelphia's spirits early on, and Steven Johnson's 17-yard scoop-and-score put the nail in the coffin in the fourth quarter. It's pretty obvious that Jeff Rodgers and his unit deserve the game ball after this one.
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