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Manning Up: Peyton finds the end-zone twice in victory over Chiefs

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Peyton found the end-zone for two more scores on Sunday Night, moving his 2014 total to 36; see what led to Manning's early-game success in Kansas City.

Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Recap of Last Week

Last week, the Manning Up series was on hiatus, due to an abundance of other personal commitments (such as school and work). In case you missed it though, Peyton threw for four passing touchdowns against the Miami Dolphins, as the Broncos won 39-36 at home in Denver. After last week, Manning was on pace for 50 touchdown passes on the season, with 34 over 10 games.

Touchdown #1

Peyton Manning touchdown to Demaryius Thomas at Chiefs

35th touchdown of the season, 21 remaining to break last year's single-season record

Receiver: Demaryius Thomas

Quarter/Time: 1st Quarter/ 9:02

Down/Distance: 3rd and 5, KC 23 (23-yard score)

Pre-Snap: The Broncos lined up in 11-personnel, with Jacob Tamme lined up as a wide receiver, stacked behind Demaryius Thomas on the left side of the field. CJ Anderson lined up in the backfield to the right of Manning (in shotgun), while Wes Welker lined up in the right slot, and Emmanuel Sanders lined up wide right. The Chiefs came out in a 2-4-5 nickel formation, with one deep safety and two defensive linemen in stand-up positions along the line.

FirstTDKCFormation

Post-Snap: Off the snap, the Chiefs sent the front six defenders on a blitz, leaving the defensive backs in man coverage with one deep safety over the top. The two receivers on the left side of the offense, Tamme and Thomas, ran side-by-side for five yards, bunching up the defensive backs, before Tamme split off on a five-yard out, while Thomas continued on a fly route up the numbers. On the other side of the field, Welker ran a fly route from the slot, while Sanders ran a drag route across the field. The defenders in coverage on Thomas and Tamme appeared to get mixed up by the interfering routes, which allowed Thomas to gain separation over the top on Sean Smith. Manning took the ball in a three step drop, at the top of which he released the ball immediately to Thomas. During his drop, Manning held the safety in place with his eyes down the field, and by the time he released the ball to Thomas, the safety was too far inside to make it to the point of the catch. Demaryius made a great play on the ball in the air, locating it in flight and jumping up to make the catch over his shoulder.

FirstTDKCPlay

Touchdown #2

Peyton Manning touchdown to C.J. Anderson at Chiefs

36th touchdown of the season, 20 remaining to break last year's single-season record

Receiver: CJ Anderson

Quarter/Time: 1st Quarter/ 2:04

Down/Distance: 3rd and 11, KC 15 (15-yard score)

Pre-Snap: The Broncos lined up with Demaryius Thomas split wide left, Emmanuel Sanders a couple yards inside of Demaryius, and Wes Welker a few yards inside of Sanders. Jacob Tamme was the lone tight end on the field, and also the lone receiver on the right side of the field, just a yard or two off of the end of the offensive line. CJ Anderson lined up in the backfield to the right side of Manning on the play. The Chiefs lined up with a 2-3-6 dime package, with two deep safeties and the other defensive backs showing man coverage.

SecondTDKCFormation

Post-Snap: Off the snap of the ball, the Chiefs sent just four pass rushers after Peyton, although it looks as though Justin Houston may have been rushing the QB before dropping back in coverage on Anderson. It may have been that Houston was faking a rush or that he bit on what he thought was a swing route by CJ; but regardless of what he was doing, it took him out of position. The remaining defensive backs were in man coverage on all four receivers, and the two safeties remained in deep coverage in Cover-2. The routes run by the Broncos receivers achieved two purposes (although they were quite possibly unintentional): first, they pulled the DBs in man coverage to the outside of the field, leaving just three men in the middle of the field to take on Anderson in the open field; secondly, they caused the two deep safeties to move towards their respective sidelines, putting more distance between the safeties and Anderson once he caught the ball up the middle. Justin Houston (as stated above) over-committed to either what he thought was a swing route by Anderson, or a rush on Manning, which left him scrambling once CJ's route went up-field. Peyton was able to recognize the separation that Anderson had on the Chiefs linebacker, and quickly got him the ball on the angle route. Anderson did the rest from there, beating both safeties in the open field easily, and waltzing into the end-zone for six.

SecondTDKCPlay

Recap

With two touchdown passes in the first quarter of Week 13's game, Peyton is (as he has been for most of the season) on pace for 48 touchdown passes in 2014. Manning's current pace of 0.75 touchdown passes per quarter would see him surpass 40 touchdown passes in Week 15 on the road in San Diego. If he wished to surpass his own single-season record, Manning would need to average five touchdown passes per game for the remainder of the season.

Week

Current TD Count

This Time Last Year (2013)

On Pace For

% of Last Year's Total

1

3

7

48

42.86%

2

6

9

48

66.67%

3

8

12

43

66.67%

5

12

16

48

75.00%

6

15

20

48

75.00%

7

19

22

51

86.36%

8

22

25

50

88.0%

9

24

29

48

82.76%

10

29

33

51

87.9%

11

30

34

48

88.23%

12

34

36

50

94.4%

13

36

41

48

87.8%