Peyton Manning became the first quarterback to throw for seven touchdowns in an NFL game since 1969, when Joe Kapp tossed 42 points through the air for the Vikings.
He just happened to do it against the Ravens.
The Broncos couldn't be stopped in the second half, en route to a 49-27 win in the NFL's season-opener Thursday night. Manning looked like the quarterback of old that dominated opponents in Indianapolis. Against what's been dubbed a revamped defense in Baltimore, Manning completed 27 of 42 passes for 462 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Ravens' secondary struggled throughout. Corey Graham had a tough time early defending Broncos receiver Wes Welker, who wound up with nine receptions for 67 yards and two touchdowns. More surprisingly was Baltimore's early troubles with tight end Julius Thomas, who finished the game with four catches, 110 yards and two touchdowns.
But it was Demaryius Thomas who led all receivers with five catches for 161 yards and two touchdowns.
Denver's offensive line did a good job keeping the Baltimore pass rush at bay, though the Ravens did get three sacks.
All around, it was a historical night — in a good way for Denver and in a bad way for Baltimore. The 49 points surrendered was a Ravens franchise worst. The seven passing touchdowns was, obviously, the most the organization has ever allowed from a quarterback. It was the first season-opening loss under Ravens coach John Harbaugh.
Thing is, the Ravens entered halftime with a 17-14 lead. On the third play of the second half's opening drive, Manning threw what was ruled a 10-yard completion to Welker on a third-and-9, which Welker appeared to drop upon replay. Harbaugh decided not to challenge the play, which allowed Denver to continue the drive.
Three plays later, Manning hit Broncos receiver Andre Caldwell for a 28-yard touchdown.
From there it snowballed and Manning entered the record books.
Other seven-touchdown quarterbacks besides Manning and Kapp are Y.A. Tittle (1962), George Blanda (1961), Adrian Burk (1954) and Sid Luckman (1943).
The Ravens lost the game but also lost two key components on offense. In the first half, and on a punt return, rookie Brynden Trawick collided with Jacoby Jones after the receiver signaled for a fair catch. Jones sprained his knee and would not return.
Right tackle Michael Oher was also forced to leave the game with an ankle injury and couldn't return.
The Broncos' defense turned up the heat when those two pieces were no longer a part of the offense, totaling four sacks and eight quarterback hits.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco finished the game 34-62 for 362 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Torrey Smith caught four passes for 92 yards and Dallas Clark had seven catches for 87 yards, though a crucial drop that would have likely gone for a touchdown.
Rookie Marlon Brown hauled in four passes for 65 yards and a touchdown. Both running backs, Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce, struggled to find room, combining for 58 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
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