DENVER: Peyton Manning tied a league record with seven touchdowns as the Denver Broncos crushed the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens 49-27 in the NFL season opener on Thursday.
The four-time most valuable player became just the sixth player in history to throw seven touchdowns in a game. Manning looked like he is ready to guide Denver to the playoffs just as he did last year in his return from multiple neck surgeries.
“It was a great night. Great atmosphere,” Manning said. “We had to be patient and we knew we could get some shots and our receivers made some big plays.”
Denver also exacted revenge for a 38-35 loss to Baltimore in the AFC divisional playoffs in January and they did it in style as the Broncos 22-point win Thursday was the biggest opening night victory ever over the defending Super Bowl champs.
Five of Manning’s TDs came in the second half of the contest at Sports Authority Field which was delayed 33 minutes before the opening kick off because of a bad weather.
Manning joined Joe Kapp, George Blanda, Sid Luckman and Adrian Burk as the lone players in league history to toss seven touchdowns in a game.
He is the first to do it since Kapp in 1969 when the former NFL and Canadian Football League star played for the Minnesota Vikings.
Manning said he is well aware of Kapp’s legacy.
“Joe Kapp. No. 11 from Cal. A Canadian. Kicked the crap out of a guy on YouTube a couple of years ago,” Manning said.
The Broncos turned a three-point halftime deficit into a comfortable 25-point cushion by scoring 28 consecutive points to begin the second half.
Wes Welker, Julius Thomas and Demaryius Thomas each caught two touchdown passes for the Broncos, who finished 13-3 last season and had the No. 1 seed in the AFC before being ousted by the Ravens in the playoffs.
Welker finished with nine catches for 67 yards in his first game as a Bronco after spending the past half dozen seasons with New England. The Broncos signed Welker as a free agent.