This past Sunday I watched my 863rd AFL/NFL game live and in attendance, and it continues to amaze me that you see something new every week.
And just about every week some of the things you have never seen before involve Peyton Manning.
The Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs both improved to 6-0 Sunday, and a review of National Football League records show that this is only the second time since the divisional structure was implemented in 1933 that two teams in the same division started out at 6-0. In 1934, the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears, then members of the NFL Western Division, each started 10-0.
Manning now has 22 touchdown passes this season, the most through the first six games in NFL history. Astonishing. But wait — there is always more with Manning — Sunday he had his 204th career game with at least one touchdown pass, breaking a tie with Dan Marino and moving all alone into second place behind Brett Favre (249).
One thing that Bronco fans watched Sunday that they have never seen before — just think, have never seen before — was Denver winning its 17th consecutive regular season game, with that 17 straight tied with the 1933-34 Chicago Bears for the fourth longest streak in NFL history.
That is 80 years of NFL football.
So it is a streak directed by Manning, but guess what?
It is not Manning’s personal record.
The record for both Peyton Manning and the entire NFL is 23 straight, which his Indianapolis Colts achieved from 2008-09.
The current Denver streak, by the way, is fourth in NFL history. After Indy, New England has separate winning streaks of 21 and 18, with the Broncos next.
Broncos fans might think they have seen this before, because it feels that way, but our previous longest streaks were 14 straight in 1997-98, and 10 straight wins in 1984.
I was lucky enough to have Rod Smith for his entire career, with Rod setting the NFL reception record by an undrafted player.
But Sunday we all saw Wesley Welker become the 27th player in NFL history to post 800 career receptions, joining Smith as the only two undrafted players to reach that milestone.
Welker now has the record for most consecutive games catching a TD pass with a new team in NFL history, at six. The six straight games also tie the all-time Broncos record, shared by Anthony Miller (1995), Vance Johnson (1987), Al Denson (1969) and Lionel Taylor (1960-61).
And we also witnessed a continuing development that seems quiet compared to Manning, but Knowshon Moreno now leads the entire NFL in rushing touchdowns, with seven, and those seven also stand as the second most through the first six games in Broncos history. The only back with more is the legendary Terrell Davis, who had nine in 1998.
Sounds like a lot of reasons to cheer at last week’s game, which I admit is perhaps a shot at those few fans who chose to boo late in the first half.
Everybody pays his money and is free to boo, but there is no greater reality than what takes place on the field itself, and outlines above are the realities that took place on the field Sunday.
We all get frustrated, and when we do one of the first things that can be lost is focus.
It is tough to win a game in the NFL, and the more a team gets dirt dumped on its face, the more it wants to win. So it was with Jacksonville.
We got a great, classy effort by the Jacksonville Jaguars. But the Broncos matched that effort and kept their poise and won the game, 35-19.
Which, by the way, was still a 16-point margin of victory. And a 17th consecutive regular season win to mark another special moment in Broncos history.
And remember, there is no homecoming game and very little value to style points in the NFL.
Just win. When you take the field, your only goal is to win the game.
Mission accomplished. Let’s move on.