Broncos pull away
Published on -10/28/2013, 10:10 AM
DENVER (AP) -- Rolled-up game plan in hand, Mike Shanahan squinted at the scoreboard and saw a familiar sight: His team comfortably ahead as the sun began setting behind the Rocky Mountains.
Boy, did Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos flip that script in a hurry.
Manning overcame four turnovers and Denver overcame a two-touchdown deficit Sunday to score the last 38 points in what turned into a 45-21 runaway over the former Denver coach's current team, the Washington Redskins.
"You can't give Peyton that many opportunities because he's going to take advantage of it," said Shanahan, coaching in Denver for the first time since the Broncos fired him in 2008.
Manning threw for 354 yards and four touchdowns and the Denver defense came up with a season-high five turnovers -- more than enough to overcome three interceptions and a lost fumble by the Broncos quarterback.
"That stuff happens in football," Manning said. "We haven't had a ton of that, but the fact we were able to overcome it was critical."
After DeAngelo Hall returned one of Manning's interceptions 26 yards for a 21-7 lead, Manning began a meticulous run of football that saw the Broncos (7-1) use a total of 27 plays to go 75 and 83 yards for touchdowns that tied the game.
"With Peyton," Redskins safety Jordan Pugh said, "the points are always there."
So are the yards. Manning hit the halfway point of the season with 2,919 yards -- most through eight games in NFL history.
Trying to match him on this day was Robert Griffin III, who finished 15 for 30 for 132 yards, one score and two interceptions before leaving with a hurt left knee. Afterward, he said it was fine.
Tied at 21, Griffin threw three straight incompletions and Sav Rocca followed by shanking a punt 15 yards. On the next play, Manning gave Denver a 28-21 lead with a screen pass Knowshon Moreno took in for a 35-yard touchdown.
Von Miller ended the next drive with his first sack and forced fumble of the season to set up a Denver field goal for a 10-point lead, and Washington (2-5) never got closer.
"It was like a blur," Hall said. "Someone asked me, 'What went wrong, what happened?' To be brutally honest, I don't remember. I looked up one point, 21-7, felt good, everybody smiling. Turned around and it ... was 38-21."
The Broncos made it 45-21 when Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie picked off backup Kirk Cousins and returned the interception 75 yards.
Denver came in with the league's worst pass defense, but that will probably change. Also getting interceptions were Chris Harris, Rahim Moore and Shaun Phillips.