DENVER » Next up for Peyton Manning: the NFL passing yardage record.
It’s one of the few glamorous passing records Manning doesn’t own, now that he has broken Brett Favre’s mark for touchdown throws. Manning needs about 5,000 more yards to surpass Favre in that category, and is on track to finish his career with numbers, across the board, that might never be matched.
"Peyton loves to play this game, he loves to break records and he loves to put up points," said Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who caught the first of Manning’s four touchdown passes in a 42-17 win over San Francisco on Sunday night.
Demaryius Thomas caught Manning’s record-breaking 509th career TD in the second quarter. Thomas caught another TD in the third quarter to push the number to 510. Manning said the touchdown mark might be more special than the rest because "the touchdowns that I’ve thrown have helped us win a lot of football games and we’ve put a lot of work into winning those games."
But it certainly isn’t the only record the 38-year-old Manning has set — or still might set.
Here’s a look at some others in reach:
PASSING YARDS: Manning has 66,812, leaving him 5,026 short of Favre’s 71,838. Manning set the single-season record with 5,477 yards last year. This record should fall in 2015 if the Broncos remain as prolific as they are and Manning stays healthy. Where will it stop, though? Well, 75,000 looks doable if Manning sticks around and stays on this pace for a few more years. It will help, too, if the Broncos can lock in the Thomases — WR Demaryius and TE Julius — to long-term contracts. Both are going to command big raises on new deals next season.
PASS ATTEMPTS: After Sunday’s win, Manning has 8,669 attempts, which leaves him exactly 1,500 shy of Favre’s record. Manning averaged 621 throws over his first two seasons in the Denver offense. If he stays at that pace, he could break it toward the end of 2016.
PASS COMPLETIONS: Manning has 5,681 — 619 behind Favre (6,300). Manning averaged 425 completions over his first two seasons with the Broncos. He completes passes at a 68 percent clip with the Broncos; that’s about 6 percent better than Favre’s career average. To put things in perspective, even if Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (2,086 completions) stays healthy and plays for a pass-happy perennial Super Bowl contender, he would have to complete more than 400 passes a season for the next 10 years to get within striking distance. Rodgers is 30, and in his 10th season, the first three of which he spent backing up Favre.
CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH A TD PASS: Johnny Unitas held this hard-to-reach record for an amazing 52 years until Brees broke it two seasons ago, on Oct. 7, 2012. But his streak ended Nov. 25, 2012 at 54. Manning is currently at 45, which means if he throws at least one TD in every game for the rest of the season, he’ll break it in the season-finale against Oakland.
CAREER PASSER RATING: Manning’s career rating stands at 97.7, which is second on the all-time list behind Rodgers (105.8). Of course, the passer rating comes out of a complex mathematical equation. It fluctuates from throw to throw and is not guaranteed to always go up. Manning’s has been in triple digits all three seasons with Denver and his career mark could conceivably get there. Rodgers’ could rise or fall long after Manning retires. Given the vagaries of a formula that nobody really understands — heck, Philip Rivers is in third at 96.9 and could surpass them both — there will never be much of a celebration for this mark.
TOUCHDOWNS IN A GAME: Manning put his name on this list in the opener last season against Baltimore when he threw for 7, tying six others. Hard to say when lightning could strike again, though he’s showing no signs of slowing, and neither is the Broncos passing game.
PLAYOFF RECORDS: Here, things will be a little more difficult because Manning is second to Tom Brady in both attempts (889-950) and completions (572-590), and the 37-year-old Brady, of course, is still playing. Manning holds a 165-yard edge over Brady for the lead in postseason passing yardage (6,589), while he’s in fourth place for passing touchdowns with 37. (Joe Montana holds the record with 45, Favre has 44 and Brady has 43).
Super Bowl rings? Oh, we had to go there. Manning’s number stands at ‘1,’ in a big tie behind Brady, brother Eli and nine other quarterbacks.
Eddie Pells, Associated Press