DENVER (AP) – Peyton Manning broke Brett Favre’s NFL record for career touchdown passes and the Denver Broncos beat the San Francisco 49ers 42-17 Sunday night.
Manning surpassed Favre’s mark with an 8-yard strike toDemaryius Thomas late in the second quarter, giving Manning 509. He pushed his total to 510 in the third quarter with his fourth touchdown pass of the night.
Ronnie Hillman added to two rushing TDs as the Broncos broke open the game by outscoring the 49ers 21-0 in the third quarter.
After the record-breaking touchdown pass, the celebration was on, but not before some good-natured ribbing from his receivers.
Thomas tossed the historic ball over Manning and to Emmanuel Sanders, who then lobbed it to Wes Welker. From there, Welker tossed it back to Sanders, who then threw it to Julius Thomas – all of Manning’s favorite targets getting into the act.
Finally, the ball was handed off to the five-time NFL MVP near the sideline as the crowd erupted. Favre and Broncos boss John Elway, himself a Hall of Fame QB, gave video tributes to Manning on the scoreboard.
Manning reached the milestone in his 246th regular-season game. Favre needed 302.
But Manning wasn’t done there. He threw his No. 510 of his career, a 40-yard dart to Demaryius Thomas, early in the third quarter. The score came one play after Aqib Talib intercepted an errant Colin Kaepernick pass.
Through three quarters, Manning was 22 of 26 for 318 yards.
Kaepernick guided the 49ers on a drive just before halftime that culminated with a 4-yard TD toss to Stevie Johnson. They almost had another TD earlier in the second quarter, but Anquan Boldin took his eyes off a pass on a third-and-goal from the 4 and the ball fell to the turf.
Instead, Phil Dawson hit a 22-yard field goal.
Dawson attempted a 51-yard field goal in the first quarter, only to have it sail wide left. Dawson entered the game 4 of 4 from 50 or more yards.
Manning threw a 3-yard TD pass to Sanders and added a 39-yarder to Welker in the first quarter to match Favre at 508.
It didn’t take long for Manning to settle into a rhythm in this game. He was 7 for 7 for 111 yards in his first two scoring drives.
Denver tweaked its offensive line for this game, inserting Paul Cornick at right tackle for Chris Clark. Cornick was whistled for a false start penalty early in the game. He nearly got beat by Aaron Lynch on Manning’s first TD toss, but held his block just long enough for Manning to deliver a strike to Sanders.
The 49ers were missing inside linebacker Patrick Willis (strained toe) and cornerback Chris Culliver (hamstring, shoulder). Rookie Chris Borland filled in for the All-Pro Willis and former Bronco Perrish Cox stepped in for Culliver, but they were out of sorts early.
San Francisco’s ailments weren’t limited to defense, as Joe Looney took over at left guard for Mike Iupati, who’s out with a concussion. In the third quarter, center Daniel Kilgore was carted off the field with a leg injury.
It’s a short turnaround for the Broncos as they host San Diego on Thursday night.
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– By Pat Graham, AP Sports Writer
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