By Jeff Ferrell: The Denver Broncos (12-3) struggled through 3 quarters of play on Sunday in holding a narrow 16-13 lead going into the 4th quarter, but they then exploded in the final quarter for 21 unanswered points to blow out the Houston Texans (2-13) 37-13 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. This was the Texans 13th straight defeat, and not a good sign that the team is going to be able to be turned around easily next season no matter who winds up as the head coach.
In terms of meaningless records, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning threw 4 touchdowns in the game to give him 51 on the season, which breaks the old 2007 record of 50 set by Tom Brady. Manning came into the game with 47 touchdowns, and he seemed to make it a point to try and eclipse the record. Where it seemed kind of off putting was when Manning was still working on trying to set the record in the 4th quarter with 4:28 left in the game with the Broncos up by a 30-13 score. Normally a team up by that margin is looking to run out the clock, but Manning was throwing on almost every down and broke the record with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Julius Thomas.
Manning is now going after the single season passing yardage record of 5,476, which is held by New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees from 2011. Manning has passed for 5,211 this season, and he just needs 266 yards in the Broncos final game of the season against the Oakland Raiders next Sunday to break the record.
Manning completed 32 of 51 passes for 400 yards in the game. Those are definitely good numbers, but we’re also talking about the Broncos playing against a dreadful team in the Houston Texans who came into the game with 12 consecutive losses.
The Texans were without 2nd year quarterback Case Keenum, who was out of action due to a thumb injury. The Texans started the unpopular interception prone Matt Schaub at quarterback instead, and he played terribly as usual in completing 18 of 37 passes for 176 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. I’d be surprised if Schaub is still on the team next season.
Broncos receiver Eric Decker had another huge game in catching 10 passes for 131 yards.