(Reuters) – Quarterback Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos ended the regular season by posting more entries in the NFL record books during a 34-14 road win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
Manning, who last week surpassed New England quarterback Tom Brady’s single season record of 50 touchdown passes, set a standard for most passing yards in a season, and the Broncos established a league high for points scored.
“This was a good game today,” Manning told reporters after AFC West champions Denver improved to 13-3 and secured home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
“We needed this win. We needed to improve on some things.”
Manning’s 63-yard TD pass to Demaryius Thomas pushed the Broncos past the NFL record of 589 points in a season set six years earlier by the Patriots. Denver finished with 606.
The quarterback’s second scoring connection to Thomas, this time a five-yard strike, gave Manning 5,477 passing yards on the season to surpass the record 5,476 yards by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees in 2011.
Manning threw four first-half TD passes to give him 55 this season as Denver held a 31-0 lead before he took a seat on the bench for the rest of the game, mission accomplished.
Two years removed from a series of neck surgeries that sidelined him for a full season and threatened to end his career, the 37-year-old Manning typically preferred to look on his showing as part of a team effort.
“We have put the time in certainly with the football requirements from the Broncos and we have done things outside of the requirements, guys have done things on our own – weightlifting, throwing sessions, conditioning work, you name it,” he said.
“Guys have paid the price and sacrificed in order to get in this position. It is fun to play with guys like that who have that kind of work ethic and passion,” added Manning, who finished the game completing 25-of-28 passes for 266 yards.
Manning’s record-breaking season ended with him connecting on 450-of-659 passes for 55 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
The quarterback spoke of adversities the team had overcome.
“It’s a season unlike any other for me as far as when your head coach is ill and miss him for a while,” Manning said, referring to coach John Fox, who missed four games after having a heart valve replacement. “We’ve had injuries.
“But the players have kind of kept their focus on trying to do the players’ jobs.”
Manning said a stunning statistical season was far from his thoughts as he fought his way back to the gridiron after his neck problems.
“It was hard to think too far past probably that day,” Manning said about the rehab process. “When you’re injured you sort of focus one day at a time and you don’t get too far ahead.”
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York, Editing by Gene Cherry/John O’Brien)