HOUSTON (AP) ― Peyton Manning had to prepare for a 2-point conversion and couldn’t celebrate when he set the NFL record for touchdown passes in a season in 2004.
On Sunday, when Denver’s quarterback regained the record against the Houston Texans, he was able to soak in the historic moment.
“It was very special,” he said. “Very rarely during an NFL game do you get to have a moment like that.”
Manning regained his record with 51 when he threw for 400 yards and four touchdowns, including three in the fourth quarter to give Denver its third straight AFC West title. He surpassed the 50 TD passes Tom Brady threw in 2007 and led the Broncos (12-3) to a 37-13 win over the Texans (2-13) that extended Houston’s franchise-record skid to 13 games.
Manning did it on a 25-yard pass to Julius Thomas with 4:28 remaining. Just 2 1/2 minutes earlier, he tied the mark with a 20-yard pass to Eric Decker.
Manning figures Brady will overtake him again one day, especially if the NFL moves to an 18-game regular season.
“I think it’s a unique thing and a neat thing to be a part of NFL history, even though it may be temporary,” he 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.”
He entered the game with 47 and his first touchdown came on a 36-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas in the second quarter. The second was a 10-yard throw to Decker earlier in the fourth period.
The Broncos already had a spot in the playoffs, but their victory, combined with Kansas City’s loss to Indianapolis, gave them the division crown.Cowboys rally past Redskins
LANDOVER, Maryland (AP) ― On fourth down, feeling the season was on the line, Tony Romo dropped back, scrambled forward and found the correct color uniform. DeMarco Murray made the catch, his momentum taking him into the end zone for the winning score.
For much of the second half, Romo and Dallas Cowboys had flirted with their usual December swoon.
A recently signed fullback lost a fumble. The quarterback threw a bad interception. An eight-point lead became a nine-point deficit. Murray lost 9 yards on a third-and-goal at the 1.
But there was one chance left to pull off a win. Romo-to-Murray converted the fourth-and-goal at the 10 with 1:08 remaining Sunday, giving the Cowboys a 24-23 victory over the Washington Redskins.
“We just had to make a play,” Dallas receiver Dez Bryant said. “Tony did a Houdini.”
It’s a magic moment that matters only if the Cowboys can win one more. The victory ended a two-game skid ― as well as a four-game December losing streak ― and sets up a winner-take-all, regular-season finale for the NFC East title next week, when the Cowboys (8-7) host the Philadelphia Eagles.Panthers clinch playoff berth
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) ― The Carolina Panthers’ playoff drought is over.
Cam Newton threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Domenik Hixon with 23 seconds left to lift the Panthers to a 17-13 win over the New Orleans Saints and clinch the team’s first playoff berth since 2008.
Carolina (11-4) can wrap up the NFC South and a first-round bye in the playoffs with a win next Sunday at Atlanta.
The Panthers intercepted Drew Brees twice and sacked him six times to avenge a 31-13 loss two weeks ago.
Still, the Panthers needed some last-minute big plays from Newton. After being held to 116 yards passing for the game’s first 59 minutes, Newton led the Panthers 65 yards in 32 seconds for the winning score.
“Cam was very resilient,” coach Ron Rivera said. “He struggled all day and he knows that. But he came through when we needed him.”
|Tennessee Titans receiver Nate Washington celebrates his touchdown on Sunday. (AFP-Yonhap News)|
Cincinnati 42, Minnesota 14
Buffalo 19, Miami 0
Indianapolis 23, Kansas City 7
St. Louis 23, Tampa Bay 13
NY Jets 24, Cleveland 13
Tennessee 20, Jacksonville 16
NY Giants 23, Detroit 20
Arizona 17, Seattle 10
Pittsburgh 38, Green Bay 31
San Diego 26, Oakland 13
New England 41, Baltimore 7
Philadelphia 54, Chicago 11