Sunday night marked yet another dominant performance in the already illustrious career of future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning. The Denver Broncos quarterback led his 5-1 squad to a resounding 42-17 win over a talented San Francisco team; but the Broncos overall performance was outdone by Mannings second quarter touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, which marked his NFL-record 509th career touchdown pass.
Just three years removed from serious spinal surgery and legitimate considerations of retirement following twelve seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, Manning has undergone a rebirth in his new Denver home. Despite the high standards he set on his previous team, by most metrics Manning has already begun to surpass those standards in the latter half of his career. Following neck surgery, Manning is throwing more touchdownsat a more efficient ratethan ever before.
Meanwhile, the closest challenger to Mannings still-growing record is the New Orleans Saints Drew Brees, who is eons away from the mark at just 374 TDS. As for Manning, he would go on to throw another touchdown on the night, bringing his total to 510. At this pace, 600 career touchdowns is a somewhat implausible, but not totally unattainable feat.
As Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com reports when explaining Mannings reaction to breaking the record: “Throwing touchdowns is a part of playing football,” Manning said in recent weeks. “But I guess for me throwing touchdowns has helped teams I’ve been a part of win a lot of football games. I don’t think I’ve thrown a lot of touchdowns that didn’t mean something. Any time you have a big lead, all the years I played in Indianapolis, the coaches would always take us out and if we were getting bad they’d take us out, so any ones that I’ve usually thrown usually resulted in our team trying to win the game or win the game so I think about it that way.”
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Mannings 509th touchdown broke NFL legend Brett Favres own record, which had been in place since he threw his last touchdown in 2010 as a New York Jet. Immediately following the record-breaking throw, Favre took to Twitter to congratulate Manning, saying: Well deserved Peyton. Congrats on breaking my record #onto600
While the 2014 season is yet to even reach its midway point, the Denver Broncos once again look poised to acquire a playoff position and make a deep run as they did last year. While there defense is definitely a force to be reckoned, the offenseled by a flawless Manningcontinues to fire on all cylinders with no real obstacles in sight. The New Orleans native and former Super Bowl champ has set a level of achievement that will be difficult to ever recreate.