NFL: Manning sets mark; Denver wins division

By ASSOCIATED PRESS  • 
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David J. Phillip | Associated Press
Peyton Manning threw four touchdown passes against the Texans for an NFL-record 51 this season.

HOUSTON — Peyton Manning had to prepare for a two-point conversion and couldn’t celebrate when he set the NFL record for touchdown passes in a season in 2004.

Yesterday, 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 passed for 400 yards and four touchdowns, including three in the fourth quarter to help Denver clinch its third straight AFC West title. He surpassed the 50 touchdown passes Tom Brady threw in 2007, and led the Broncos to a 37-13 victory over the Texans that extended Houston’s franchise-record skid to 13 games.

Manning broke the record on a 25-yard pass to Julius Thomas with 4:28 remaining. Just 21/2 minutes earlier, he tied the record 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 quarter.

The Broncos (12-3) already had a spot in the playoffs, but their victory, combined with Kansas City’s loss to Indianapolis, gave them the division title.

Manning had held the record by throwing 49 touchdown passes in 2004.

He has 5,211 passing yards this season, which is 265 yards short of the record 5,476 yards Drew Brees totaled in 2011.

Matt Schaub started for the first time since Oct. 13 for Houston (2-13) and finished with 176 yards and one touchdown, with two interceptions.

Houston’s Andre Johnson made four catches for 63 yards, giving him 103 catches this season. His fifth season with 100 catches ties the NFL record held by the Broncos’ Wes Welker.

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