DENVER — Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos waited eight long months, then another 33 minutes, to get the season started.
A record-tying seven touchdown passes — something no one had done in 44 years — made it worth the while.
Connecting with his most prized addition, Wes Welker, former college basketball player Julius Thomas and Demaryius Thomas for two TDs each, Manning directed Denver to a 49-27 victory over the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night in the NFL opener, a much-anticipated rematch against the team that ended the Broncos’ playoff run in January.
Manning is the sixth QB in NFL history to throw seven TD passes in a game and the first since Joe Kapp did it for Minnesota against Baltimore on Sept. 28, 1969.
Manning was 27 of 42 for 462 yards with seven TDs and no interceptions.
All part of a thorough thrashing of the team that put a harsh end to what had looked like a Super Bowl-bound 2012 in Denver. The rematch came nearly eight months after Baltimore beat Denver 38-35 in January.
Manning’s seventh TD covered only a few yards in the air but Demaryius Thomas hauled in the pass in the left flat and turned on the jets, racing past several gassed defenders for 78 yards that capped the scoring.