5 Best Peyton Manning Moments with the Denver Broncos
Arguably the greatest free-agent acquisition of all time, Manning signed with the Broncos in 2012. After missing the entire 2011 season with the Indianapolis Colts, it was unknown how effective Manning could be.
It didn't take long for Manning to show he could be better than ever with the Broncos.
Manning retires with 11 all-time records for quarterbacks, including most career passing yards (71,940), most career passing touchdowns (539), most single-season passing yards (5,477), most single-season passing touchdowns (55) and most wins (200 total). He was able to build on those historic numbers at an accelerated rate in the Mile High City.
Here is a look back at his career with the Broncos and the five greatest moments therein. What are your five best memories from Manning's Broncos career? Make sure to share them in the comments below.
5. First Comeback vs. Chargers
The Broncos finished the 2012 season, Manning's first with Denver, as the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. However, the year began with a rough patch before the team's bye in Week 7.
With a 2-3 record, the Broncos were playing on Monday Night Football against the San Diego Chargers, and they were down. With the score 24-0 at halftime, all seemed bleak for Manning and company.
That's when Manning took over.
They entered the bye week with a 3-3 record, and the Broncos didn't lose again the rest of the regular season.
4. Beating Patriots in 2013 AFC Title Game
Beating the New England Patriots is rarely easy, and Manning versus Tom Brady is arguably the best quarterback matchup we'll ever see in the NFL. After a magical 2013 season where Manning broke multiple single-season passing records, the team didn't want to fall short in its bid to get to the Super Bowl.
The Broncos were able to secure a spot in Super Bowl XLVIII with a win over the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
Manning threw for an even 400 yards on the day, and he helped the team sustain long drives to help keep Brady cold on the sidelines. Demaryius Thomas finished as the team's leading receiver with seven catches for 134 yards and one touchdown. Manning's reliance on Thomas showed through as the Patriots struggled to break the rhythm established by the Broncos' superior passing game.
After falling short in 2012 against the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs, the Broncos were able to win the conference this time.
3. Breaking Single-Season TD Pass Record
Manning had broken the single-season passing touchdown record once before when he surpassed Dan Marino's 48 touchdown passes in 2004. He finished that season with 49 TD passes to set a new mark that lasted until Tom Brady bested that number in 2007 with 50.
As the 2013 season marched on, it became evident that Manning would have a chance to not only pass Brady, but perhaps put the mark out of reach for a good while.
In Week 16 of the 2013 season against the Houston Texans, Manning tossed his 51st touchdown pass of the year.
He threw for 400 yards and four touchdowns against a Texans team with Wade Phillips working as the interim head coach. His scoring pass to tight end Julius Thomas was a thing of beauty; it floated perfectly into Thomas' hands as he scampered past the pylon for the score. Thomas didn't even realize that was the record-setting throw until he sat down on the bench after the play.
Never one to put the spotlight on himself, Manning acknowledged the feat with one simple fist bump in the air.
2. Season-Opening Seven TD Passes vs. Ravens
The Broncos fell short in the 2012 postseason with a double-overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens. It was a painful game—a cold game—and one that would motivate the Broncos the next season. The Ravens went on to win the Super Bowl, while the Broncos got to warm up watching from home.
They didn't have to wait long for their revenge, as the Ravens were the first team on the schedule in what would become a magical 2013 season.
Manning had—not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six—seven touchdown passes against the Ravens in the 2013 season opener. The Broncos won 49-27, but it's amazing to think they actually started the game off with three punts before the offensive explosion.
Manning became the sixth quarterback in NFL history to throw seven touchdown passes in a game and the first since Joe Kapp for the Minnesota Vikings against the Baltimore Colts on Sept. 28, 1969. After the game, Manning knew the history books and was able to recite Kapp's accomplishment.
That game was amazing, but it was just a sign of what was to come from the Broncos offense in 2013.
1. Winning Super Bowl 50
When the Broncos added Manning to their roster, the idea was that he could help them win a Super Bowl. That's exactly what he did in 2015, but it didn't happen in the way anybody expected.
Manning had the most tumultuous season of his career in 2015.
Never looking quite like himself, the 39-year-old threw more interceptions than he did touchdown passes. He had to sit the bench due to a plantar fascia injury and patiently wait for his turn to play again.
When Manning came back in the regular-season finale, his decision-making helped propel the Broncos into the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
The Broncos relied on the strength of their team—defense—to win this championship. However, it was Manning who led the offense through the postseason with an understanding that he didn't have to do too much. Trusting in his teammates on the other side of the ball, Manning was efficient and effective as a passer when he needed to be.
He only threw for 141 yards in Super Bowl 50, but he was able to secure his second championship as a pro. Manning became the first quarterback in NFL history to win a Super Bowl with two different teams. The Broncos added him four years ago to win a championship, and that dream was finally realized this year.