The play of Peyton Manning was magnificent Thursday night.
He passed with precision and threw the ball all over the Baltimore Ravens; they were defenseless.
Manning didn't just help his team to a win, he carried the Denver Broncos to victory on his magical right arm, setting records in the process.
His seven total touchdown passes tied a single-game NFL record, set by six other quarterbacks. The latest to do it? Joe Kapp in 1969.
To think how far the game has come, especially recently, to become as lopsided as it is towards offense and specifically the passing game, and yet, passing was even more prominent 50 and 60 years ago in football. That's an amazing bit of football history.
His 452 yards passing were a career-high – as were the seven TDs thrown, obviously – and the 49 total points were the most ever hung on a Ravens' defense in the history of the team.
So, how did Manning earn all those valuable touchdown passes?
Let's take a closer look.
While it seems crazy to say now, the Broncos actually started the game flat. They had to punt the ball on their first three drives before finally getting it going.
On the team's fourth drive, Manning hit tight end Julius Thomas on a huge pass play, watching him take a short out route up the field and down the sideline for 44 yards. It set up the first score, a pass to Thomas up the seam of the field, who walked into the end zone after finding himself wide open.
The second TD was again to Thomas and again on a seam route, but the throw this time was too pretty to ignore. As he moved toward the goal line, two defenders converged on Thomas; Manning fit the ball into a window perfectly. The two defenders hit each other and Thomas cruised in for a second score in the first game of his NFL career.
Denver went into halftime down 17-14, and it was indeed the second half that brought the fireworks to the Mile High City.
Right out of the break, the Broncos jumped into the no-huddle offense, flying down the field like Andre Caldwell did on his deep, bobbled touchdown on the sideline. 21-17 Broncos.
After a blocked punt gave the team a short field, Manning connected with his new weapon Wes Welker for the duo's first score. Welker caught the ball at the two, used great body control to get turned and went around the defender into the end zone. 28-17 Denver.
A few minutes later, after quickly pushing the team down field, Manning found Welker wide open just in front of the goal line, allowing the all-time great slot man to back pedal into the end zone. 35-17 Denver, end of the third quarter.
In the last period, No. 18 took a three-step drop and hit Demaryius Thomas on a go route down the right sideline. Everything was clicking for the Broncos at that point as they lead 42-17.
Finally, on a third down, Manning did what he does best – change the play – which worked wonderfully. He decided to go to Demaryius Thomas again, this time on a bubble screen, which was blocked to perfection by Broncos receivers and linemen alike, springing the speedster and letting him gallop to the end zone. 49-17 Denver.
While the Denver defense allowed 10 more points to the Ravens, they were inconsequential.
The 21 unanswered points put up by Peyton and Co. in the third quarter were enough to blow the game wide open, allowing the Broncos defense to dial up blitzes and cut short the Ravens' chances of gaining yards or sustaining drives.
It was a truly magical performance, something no one has seen in nearly 45 years; it was one of those games that help build the argument that Manning is indeed the greatest quarterback to ever live.