The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

September 24, 2013

Manning's 3 TDs helps Broncos beat Raiders 37-21

(Continued)

"You see what he can do. I don't even know too many people who can do that in Madden," running back Ronnie Hillman said, referring to the popular video game. "It's pretty cool to have a quarterback like that."

OK, so the evening wasn't perfect. There were the five incompletions, though two of them were flat-out drops and another two hit receivers in the hands, but would have been difficult catches. The Broncos (3-0) settled for three field goals and had to punt once. Rookie Montee Ball lost another fumble. Denver came a field goal short of reaching 40 points for the third straight game.

And Manning's prediction that Chris Clark would be a seamless replacement for injured Ryan Clady as his blindside protector didn't exactly pan out. Lamarr Houston beat Denver's new starting left tackle badly in the third quarter for a sack and strip that halted a drive that had reached the Raiders 13.

But Denver was ahead 30-7 at that point.

And, really, any complaints about Denver's offense seem like quibbling given what's gone on so far this season. The record for touchdown passes in a season is 50, set by Brady in 2007. If he keeps up this pace, Manning will throw 64.

"Any inch of mistake that he sees, he's going to put the ball there and find that hole," Raiders cornerback Mike Jenkins said.

As for Denver's biggest rival, the Raiders — since Manning arrived, the Broncos have outscored them 100-40 in three runaway wins.

The Raiders offense made one big play before the game got out of hand. Terrelle Pryor (19 for 28 for 281 yards), who left the game late with a concussion, hit Denarius Moore in the middle of the field and Broncos defensive backs Duke Ihenacho and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie whiffed on the tackle. Moore went 73 yards to cut Oakland's deficit to 17-7 in the second quarter.

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