Celebration stunt all part of the plan

ByJeff Legwold ESPN logo
Monday, October 20, 2014

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Seems fitting that a quarterback who plans to plan would celebrate a coveted record with one, as well.

Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos' wide receivers had toyed with the idea of a game of keep-away with the ball should Manning set the NFL record for career touchdown passes Sunday night. The group even did it in Friday's practice.

"He came to me ... and said if anybody scores the 509, that's what we should do," receiver Demaryius Thomas said. "He said 'Keep the ball away,' like hopscotch or whatever. I was like, 'Cool.'"

Manning threw his 509th career touchdown pass -- an 8-yarder to Thomas with 3 minutes, 9 seconds remaining in the second quarter Sunday night. And as the celebration commenced at Sports Authority Field, Manning went to retrieve the ball from Thomas, who tossed it to Emmanuel Sanders, who tossed it to Wes Welker, who tossed it back to Sanders, who then tossed it to Julius Thomas before Manning got the ball.

"We were definitely rehearsing it," Sanders said. "But I didn't think we were going to do it. I ended up running up to Demaryius, who had caught the touchdown, of course, and I was like 'Let's do it ... let's just do it.' And we did it.''

For his part, Manning said following Sunday night's 42-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ershe didn't believe that, although the group talked about it during the week, the receivers would actually do it in the game.

"I can't believe they actually did it,'' Manning said. "We sort of joked about it during the week ... I've lost my vertical leap, it's not there anymore, my side-to-side agility is not quite as quick, so it hurt me.

"But that was pretty funny, I enjoyed that and I'll definitely remember a lot of things about [Sunday night], but I'll definitely remember that part of it and the fact they had the guts to go ahead and go through with it.''

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