Remembering Peyton Manning’s best moments with the Broncos

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The leadership

As Peyton Manning celebrates his birthday on Friday, we’re taking a look back at some of the sheriff’s best moments in Denver.

Read on for a look at some of our favorite highlights from Manning’s Ring of Fame career in the Mile High City.

Any list of Manning’s best moments has to start with the Broncos capturing their third world title. While Manning didn’t throw for dozens of touchdowns in his senior season, his experience and leadership skills helped lead the Broncos to a Super Bowl 50 title. After battling an injury during the regular season, he went through rehab and made an emotional return with a comeback win in Week 17 against the Chargers to secure first place in the AFC. He threw two early touchdowns in an AFC championship win over the Patriots and helped manage the game in a narrow win over the Panthers. His last pass was for a two-point conversion and he retired at the front.

Starting Manning’s career in Denver didn’t mean instant success for the Broncos. After an opening win over the Steelers, Denver sat down 3-2 at halftime against the Chargers on Monday Night Football in 2012 and faced a 24-0 deficit. Then Manning took over. He threw three second-half touchdown passes and just one incompletion error as Denver made what was then the fourth-biggest regular-season comeback in NFL history. From then on, Denver didn’t look back; The team didn’t lose another game in the regular season and embarked on a remarkable four-year winning streak.

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In Denver’s first game after a heartbreaking postseason loss to the Ravens, Manning and the Broncos got a semblance of revenge. With a 49-27 win early in the 2013 season, Manning set an NFL record for most touchdown passes in a game and became the first player to score seven points in a game since 1969. The Broncos were actually down 17-14 at halftime, but Manning threw an impressive five touchdowns in the second half to build a 42-17 advantage early in the fourth quarter. The performance would herald an unforgettable season for Manning.

A few weeks before the Broncos’ first AFC championship win under Manning, the signal caller set a season’s touchdown mark with a Week 16 win over the Texans. Manning, who previously broke Dan Marino’s record in 2004, was usurped by Tom Brady in 2007. Brady’s mark of 50 touchdown passes lasted until December 2013, when Manning came on with 47 touchdown passes. He equalized Brady’s mark midway through the fourth quarter, and a 25-yard pass to Julius Thomas with 4:28 to play secured the record for Manning. A week later, he added four more touchdown passes to bring his total to 55. Even after two 17-game seasons, that mark still stands.

A year after setting a string of season records, Manning smashed all career marks midway through the 2014 campaign. Manning made two touchdown passes in a Sunday Night Football game against the 49ers to tie Brett Favre’s career touchdown pass record, and he reached that mark before the end of the second quarter. Then, late in the third quarter, Manning found Demaryius Thomas on a beautifully timed route to the front right pylon. Thomas and his fellow receivers then played remotely from Manning in a moment of ease after the record-breaker. Broncos vocalist Dave Logan punctuated the track with the perfect call: “Move over, Brett Favre, and make space for the new king!”

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