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Broncos' offense, defense click in blowout over 49ers

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Peyton Manning broke Brett Favre's record for career touchdown passes, leading the Denver Broncos to a 42-17 blowout victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night. Our takeaways:

1. It's fitting that Manning had one of his most efficient performances while making history. His 157.2 passer rating fell just 1.1 points shy of a perfect game and ranks in the top 10 for his storied career. By early in the third quarter, Manning tossed his fourth touchdown pass of the evening, dropping a perfect throw into Demaryius Thomas' bucket for 40 yards. The Broncos are averaging 38 points and 447 yards since the Week 4 bye. Those numbers are almost identical to Manning's record-breaking 2013 offense.

2. The Broncos' 42 points are the most allowed by the 49ers under coach Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. San Francisco was facing one of the NFL's best offenses on a short week without the services of All-Pro caliber linebackers in Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith, as well as cornerback Chris Culliver and nickelback Jimmie Ward. The bye week is coming at the perfect time for a defense that was third in Football Outsiders' metrics entering Sunday night's game. It will also give Vernon Davis (back) and Michael Crabtree (foot) a chance to get back to full health.

3. Niners cornerback Perrish Cox's surprising breakout season ran into a Demaryius Thomas buzzsaw. Healthy and explosive now after battling an early-season foot injury, Thomas is the hottest wide receiver in the league over the past three weeks, averaging nine receptions for 174 yards while scoring five times.

4. Ronnie Hillman's last three games have been more impressive than any single game by Montee Ball this season. It's only natural to wonder if Hillman will hold onto the lead-back role when Ball returns from a torn groin injury.

5. Already without one-time All-Pro guard Mike Iupati, the 49ers lost center Daniel Kilgore to what Jim Harbaugh said is likely a broken leg. Third-round draft pick Marcus Martin, returning from an August knee injury, practiced in full last week and could be ready to replace Kilgore after the bye.

6. DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller combined for five more sacks, bringing their season total to 15. Miller has impressively recaptured pre-ACL-tear dominance, claiming the NFL sack lead (eight) and excelling in run defense. J.J. Watt is the only defender playing at a higher level. As long as Ware and Miller stay healthy, Jack Del Rio's defense can hang with any in the league.

7. Now boasting the AFC's best record, the Broncos will put first place on the line against the San Diego Chargers on Thursday night.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Week 7 game, and breaks down Peyton Manning's record-breaking night. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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