Final Score: Broncos 52, Eagles 20

It was billed as a track meet between two elite offenses, but the scoreboard at SAF@MH sure didn't reflect that, as the Broncos destroyed the visiting Eagles 52-20 (Gamebook, NFLN highlights).

Chip Kelly's offense was impressive early, but the former Oregon coach apparently left his aggressive decisions back in Philly, opting to kick several times instead of going for touchdowns.

Granted, it may not have mattered.

The Broncos forced the Eagles into a quick three-and-out to start the game, and then quickly marched 69 yards in nine plays, scoring on an easy six-yard pass from Peyton Manning to Wes Welker.

For Welker, it was already his fifth touchdown of the year, which is just one fewer than he had in all of 2012. Oddly, he never scored more than nine touchdowns in any of his six prolific seasons in New England.

Philly promptly moved downfield, but Brent Celek dropped a wide-open pass on third down, and despite the presence of Manning on the opposite sideline, Chip Kelly opted to kick on 4th-and-4.

Trading field goals for touchdowns is never good against Peyton Manning, but this time, the ball never even got into Peyton's hands, as Trindon Holliday returned the subsequent kickoff 105 yards to paydirt.

For Holliday, it was his sixth return touchdown in 15 games with the Broncos. Rick Upchurch, the all-time franchise leader, had eight return scores, but in 124 games. Of course, we're including playoff games in this count.

The Eagles' next possession also sputtered out, and Kelly again - and uncharacteristically - opted for a field goal on 4th-and-4, this time from the Denver 7-yard line.

That brought Philly to within 14-6, and a couple of miscues (Manning overthrowing a wide open Eric Decker, and Wes Welker falling down) led to a quick three-and-out for Denver.

Once again, the Eagles flew down the field, but this time, they capped off their 64-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run by Chris Polk. Again, Kelly went against his M.O., choosing to kick the extra point instead of attempting to tie with a two-pointer.

Denver would make no mistakes on the ensuing drive, which covered 80 yards in 11 plays. The possession included three touches by Ronnie Hillman and five carries by Knowshon Moreno, the last a four-yard touchdown run that gave the Broncos a 21-13 lead.

Kelly made another strange decision on the next drive, taking a delay of game from the Broncos' 37 and then punting, rather than going for it on 4th-and-6.

Denver took that 21-13 advantage into halftime, when Tom Nalen took his rightful place in the Ring of Fame.

From there, the floodgates opened, as Manning & Co. started the second half with a 10-play, 80-yard drive to extend their lead to 28-13. Demaryius Thomas caught a one-yard fade for his third touchdown of the season, the fourteenth scoring pass of the year by Manning. That moved Peyton into a tie with Sammy Baugh, Don Meredith, and Kurt Warner, for the most touchdown passes in NFL history through four games.

Just minutes later, Demaryius and Manning added to those numbers, as Thomas capped another 80-yard drive, this time with a 15-yard catch-and-run. Manning now had the four-game TD record all to his lonesome.

Of course, it didn't take very long for Peyton to extend his new record, as the Broncos' next drive consumed 65 yards in seven plays, including a four-yard score by Welker.

It was Manning's fourth touchdown pass of the game, his 16th on the season, and Welker's sixth, making it a 42-13 game.

Philly's next possession lasted five plays, but Steven Johnson blocked their punt, picked up the bouncing ball, and rumbled in for a 17-yard touchdown and Denver's second special-teams score of the afternoon. Denver now led 49-13, with most of the fourth quarter still left to be played.

Michael Vick got the Eagles into field goal range on their next drive, but Alex Henery was unable to convert from 46 yards.

At that point, Brock Osweiler took over for Manning, who left having authored another near-perfect day, with 28 completions on 34 attempts for 327 yards and four scores.

Peyton is now on pace to throw for 64 touchdowns and 5,880 yards, and his completion rate is up to 75% on the season. Since you're wondering, Tom Brady has the TD record at 50 (2007), while Drew Brees has the completion rate record at 71.2% (2011).

Osweiler moved the Broncos 30 yards, and Matt Prater nailed a 53-yarder to give Denver a 52-13 lead and break the franchise single-game scoring record of 50 points, set in 1963 against the visiting Chargers.

The Eagles would also pull their starting QB, as Nick Foles took over for Michael Vick, and promptly led the team on an 80-yard touchdown drive, capped by a six-yard pass to Jeff Maehl. Philly had reached the 20-point mark, but they were still down by 32, and that's how the game would end.

Denver has now scored 179 points in four games and allowed 91, for an average margin of 44.75 to 22.75. That puts them on pace to score 716 points; the 2007 Patriots own the NFL record with what now seems a pedestrian 589.

The Broncos will head to Dallas next Sunday to play the Cowboys (2-2), who lost 30-21 at San Diego (2-2).


  • At 15 games, Denver now has a new franchise record regular-season winning streak.
  • Denver was 5-5 in the red zone, while Philly was just 2-5
  • The ball was spread so well among Denver's backs and receivers that nobody reached 100 yards from scrimmage
  • Manning had a 146.0 QB rating in the game, meaning his season figure has risen from the 134.7 rating he entered with
  • Britton Colquitt was only needed twice, and he delivered a 60-yard punt on one of his kicks
  • Peyton's 16 touchdown passes are more than any other team's total touchdowns
  • Denver's 179 points are four fewer than the record through four games, set by the 1966 Cowboys
  • Danny Trevathan and Wesley Woodyard combined for 18 total tackles, 0.5 sacks, two QB hits, one TFL, and a pass defensed
  • Duke Ihenacho and Rahim Moore teamed up to make 16 total tackles and one TFL
  • Robert Ayers has 3.5 sacks on the season, which is a new career high for him


Videos: Highlights from BTV; John Fox addresses the team; John Fox, Peyton Manning, and several others speak afterward; here are their quotes transcribed.

John Fox says there are no injuries to report.

Lindsay Jones, Mike Klis, Arnie Stapleton, and Jeff Legwold recap the game.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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