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Denver Broncos: Flawless first half clinches home field advantage

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The Denver Broncos are 13-3 and have clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs for the second straight year. Sunday's 34-14 win over the Oakland Raiders saw Peyton Manning break yet another single-season record; his 5,477 passing yards on the season surpassed Drew Brees’ 2011 record by one yard. Manning also added four touchdowns to his season tally of 55, capping off the best season at the quarterback position in NFL history.

"I feel like it's a record every other week," Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas said, who caught the five-yard touchdown pass that secured the yards record for Manning. "It's great to be a part of, to get it. We just have to sit back and talk about it but our main goal is to win the Super Bowl. It's a good accomplishment for our offense. The main thing now is being able to win."

The Broncos scored early and often in the route against the Raiders. Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno caught touchdown passes in the first half while Thomas caught two scored in the second, including a 64-yard bomb. After passing for his fourth touchdown with 13 seconds remaining in the first half, Manning’s day was over completing 25 of 28 passes for 266 yards.

The Broncos’ first half was about as flawless of a half they could have had. The 31 first half points set another NFL regular-season record; the Broncos scored 606 points on the season, breaking the New England Patriots’ 2007 record of 589 points. Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos offense set three NFL milestones in less than a full season, giving them the momentum they needed heading into the playoffs.

"The first half was about as good in all three phases as we've been all year," head coach John Fox said. "It allowed us to get some guys out of the game and rest them and still take care of business on the field."

Brock Osweiler played the entire second half in place of Manning, throwing for 85 yards from nine completions.

The Oakland Raiders wrapped up their 11th consecutive season without a winning record. They haven’t finished better than 8-8 in a season since losing in Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003. The security of Raiders head coach Dennis Allen is not certain at this time, but seems to have survived “Black Monday” for the time being.

With home field advantage wrapped up throughout the playoffs, the Broncos will face the lowest-remaining seed in Denver after next week’s wildcard matchups. Wes Welker, who has sat in the Broncos final three regular season games, is expected to be in uniform for the playoff run.

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