Move over, Tom Brady. Peyton Manning is coming through and he is throwing touchdown passes.
Manning established a new NFL record for touchdown passes in a single season with his 51st scoring throw of the Denver Broncos' historic 2013 campaign. The record-breaking touchdown came on a 25-yard pass to tight end Julius Thomas against the Houston Texans with 4:28 remaining in the fourth quarter. It was Manning's fourth touchdown throw of the afternoon as the Broncos routed the Texans 37-13.
HIGHLIGHTS: Peyton Manning's Record-Setting Day
Manning, 37, began the game with 47 touchdowns on the season, two shy of his previous career high. His 51 touchdown passes in 2013 topped Brady's mark of 50 established in 2007. Brady became the first quarterback in NFL history to reach the 50-touchdown pass plateau as the New England Patriots rolled to an undefeated regular 2007 season. To set that record, Brady topped Manning's 2004 tally of 49. After raising the bar yet again on Sunday, Manning wasn't exactly optimistic that he would hold this record for long.
"It's probably just a temporary record. Brady will probably break it next year," Manning said on the field after game. "So, we'll enjoy it while it lasts. But I really feel like it is a team accomplishment."
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) December 22, 2013
Manning pulled even with Brady with a 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eric Decker less than three minutes earlier. That same Manning-Decker combination had also produced Manning's 49th touchdown pass of the season earlier in the fourth quarter. Those three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter blew open a game that had been closer than the team's records would suggest. Houston limited Denver's prolific offense to just one touchdown in the first half. On the first play of the second quarter, Manning lofted a beautiful 36-yard pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to stake the Broncos to a 10-3 lead. With the 37-13 win, the Broncos lock up their third-straight AFC West title and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
WATCH: All 51 Of Peyton Manning's 2013 Touchdown Passes
With one week remaining in the regular season, Manning may not be done rewriting the record books. Manning threw for 400 yards against the Texans to raise his season total 5,211. He needs 265 passing yards in Week 17 to break Drew Brees' single-season record set in 2011. Manning has thrown for more than 265 yards in every game this season but one (Week 12 at New England).