Peyton Manning's greatness often is taken for granted. He's so consistent that it takes an extraordinary feat for us to stand up and truly take notice.
On the NFL's opening night, Manning pulled off one of those feats, tossing a league-record-tying seven touchdown passes in the Denver Broncos' 49-27 win over Baltimore Ravens. Of the six quarterbacks who've thrown seven TD passes in a game, only Manning and Y.A. Tittle did it without an interception.
Manning did his best Thursday to make Broncos fans forget about last January's divisional-round playoff loss to the Ravens. He did it by showing this was a new Broncos offense. Julius Thomas was a huge factor at tight end, catching five passes for 110 yards and two scores. Free-agent pickup Wes Welker also scored twice. Defenses simply can't match up with all of Manning's weapons.
The Broncos trailed 17-14 at halftime, a fact that will be forgotten in this bloodbath's aftermath. Less than nine minutes into the third quarter, the Broncos were ahead 35-17. This is an offense that can erupt at any time. Manning's style of play has changed over the years, but he's as effective as ever.
Manning also tied Brett Favre's league record with his 23rd career game with at least four TD throws and Drew Brees' mark with his seventh career five-TD performance. The Ravens like the talent in their secondary, but Manning made Michael Huff, Corey Graham, and Jimmy Smith look foolish for much of the night.
This Broncos' offense threatens to be as explosive as any Manning has ever played on. Historical nights could become a trend in Denver this season.