Peyton Manning set a single-season touchdown pass record for the second time in his career on Sunday
The first came in 2004 with the Indianapolis Colts. This one came with the Denver Broncos.
Manning threw for 400 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions in the Broncos 37-13 win over Houston to break Tom Brady’s record of 50 set in 2007.
He threw three of the scoring passes in the fourth quarter, including the record-setting 25-yarder to Julius Thomas for his 51st of the season with 4 minutes 28 seconds left.
“I think it’s a unique thing and a neat thing to be a part of history, even thought it may be temporary,” Manning said. “So I’m going to enjoy it as long as it lasts, and hopefully the Hall of Fame will send the ball back once somebody throws for more.”
Manning set a record in 2004 with 49 TD passes, topping Dan Marino’s 48 in 1984 before Brady broke his mark three years later.
“It’s an incredible feat,” Brady told WEEI sports radio in Boston. “And 51 is unbelievable through 15 games. They’ve been throwing at an incredible pace, and what they’ve done offensively and certainly in the passing game has been incredible.”
Manning threw two of his TD passes to Eric Decker. His first scoring pass went to Demaryius Thomas in the second quarter. He also became the first player to throw for 5,000 yards and 50 TDs in a single season.
Panthers clinch playoff spot: Carolina clinched its first playoff berth since 2008 by beating New Orleans 17-13 in Charlotte on Sunday. Cam Newton threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Domenik Hixon with 23 seconds to play in the fourth quarter.
Carolina intercepted Saints quarterback Drew Brees twice and sacked him six times.
The Panthers (11-4) began the season 1-3, then won eight straight before losing 31-13 at New Orleans two weeks ago.
“When we were 1-3 there was a lot of what-ifs a lot of people that were jumping off the bandwagon,” Newton said. “But as a team we stuck together and didn’t veer off and had faith in each other.”
Seahawks home streak ends: In a must-win situation to remain in playoff contention, the Arizona Cardinals defeated the Seattle Seahawks 17-10 in an NFC West showdown on Sunday. Arizona dealt Seattle its first home loss in two years, and at least delayed the Seahawks’ quest to clinch the division title and home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
“Coming in we were very confident,” said Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer, who threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd with 2:13 left for the go-ahead score. “I just felt like we were ready and we were prepared.”
The loss snapped Seattle’s 14-game home win streak, and handed quarterback Russell Wilson his first home loss as a Seahawk. The Seahawks have already clinched their eighth playoff berth since 2002, and their third under coach Pete Carroll.
“At the end of the day, we still have to win our next game,” Wilson said. “That’s every week. That’s every time we step on the field. Our goal is to go 1 and 0. I’ve been saying it all year. We lost this one. We shouldn’t have lost it, but the thing is, we have a great opportunity ahead of us.”
The Cardinals won for the seventh time in their past eight games, overcoming four interceptions by Palmer.
“We just saw a tremendous defensive football game today,” Carroll said. “Two defenses just duking it out all day long. The Cards did a nice job. They hung with their approach and got it done.”
Seattle was flagged for nine penalties totaling 102 yards.
The Seahawks finish the regular season at home against the Rams, while the Cardinals host the 49ers.
On to the playoffs: The AFC division winners have been determined. Denver clinched the West, New England the East, Cincinnati the North and Indianapolis clinched the South before Week 16. Kansas City has clinched a wild-card playoff berth. Baltimore, Miami, Pittsburgh and San Diego are still in the playoff chase going into the last week of the regular season.
In the NFC, none of the four division winners had been determined going into Monday night’s game between San Francisco and Atlanta. Carolina and Seattle are the only teams to clinch playoff berths. Green Bay plays at Chicago this week for the NFC North title and Philadelphia plays at Dallas for the NFC East title. New Orleans, San Francisco and Arizona are still in the chase for a playoff spot going into the last week of the season.
Week 16 Top Performers:
- Peyton Manning, Broncos, 32-51, 400 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INT
- LeSean McCoy, Eagles, 26 carries, 124 yards, 2 TDs
- Pierre Garcon, Redskins, 11 catches, 144 yards, TD
- Luke Kuechly, Panthers, 24 total tackles
- Robert Quinn, Rams, 3 sacks
- Greg Hardy, Panthers, 3 sacks
- Trent Cole, Eagles, 3 sacks
- Richard Sherman, Seahawks, 2 INTs
- Jerrell Freeman, Colts, 2 INTs
Sidelines: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has led his team to 11 division titles, the most by a starting quarterback in NFL history. Broncos QB Peyton Manning has led his teams to 10 division titles…Manning and Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton each threw four TD passes with no interceptions on Sunday. That’s happened 17 times in the NFL this season, one shy of the single-season record of 18 set in 2004.
Ted Olafson contributed to this report from Seattle.
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