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September 06. 2013 1:33AM

Manning tosses seven TDs -- two to Welker -- as Broncos dump Ravens in NFL opener


Baltimore defensive back Corey Graham (24), a former UNH star, chases the Denver Broncos' Wes Welker in the first quarter of Thursday's game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun/MCT)

DENVER -- The new NFL season got off to a stuttering start but Peyton Manning was firing on all cylinders, tossing a career-best and NFL-record-tying seven touchdowns to lead the Denver Broncos to a 49-27 rout of the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens on Thursday.

Wes Welker, Tom Brady's favorite target before moving from New England to the Broncos, looks set to become Manning's go-to-guy as well and hauled in nine passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns.

The opening kickoff was delayed 33 minutes because of lightning in the Denver area but it could not prevent the Broncos from gaining emphatic revenge for a double overtime loss to the Ravens in last season's divisional playoff clash.

The Broncos showed why they are tipped as favorites to replace the Ravens as Super Bowl champions.

Manning shredded the Ravens defense by completing 27-of-42 pass attempts for 462 yards and became the first player since Joe Kapp in 1969 to throw seven touchdowns.

Demaryius Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas both had over 100 yards receiving and a pair of touchdown catches.

A fourth round pick in the 2011 draft, Thomas's career statistics coming into the opener were one catch for five yards. Andre Caldwell scored the other Denver touchdown.


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