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Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker caught quarterback Peyton Manning’s record-tying 508th career touchdown pass in the first quarter of the Broncos’ 42-17 rout of the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 19.
Welker made the catch during the first quarter of the Broncos’ 42-17 rout of the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football. Denver wide receiver Demaryius Thomas was the one who caught Manning’s record-breaking 509th touchdown pass, per Lauren Gludice of the Broncos’ official website:
“While (Demaryius) Thomas was on the receiving end of Manning’s record-breaking TD, Wes Welker nabbed the record-tying one in the first quarter. Wide open, he caught a beautifully thrown pass on down the left sideline, diving in the end zone and hitting the pylon for the score.
“Manning said the play they ran on Welker’s touchdowns was a ‘Friday afternoon addition’ by him and offensive coordinator Adam Gase. After his touchdown, Welker was ‘absolutely’ trying to keep the ball for himself. After the game, he acknowledged that he /4/get to facilities on Monday and find out that it wasn’t his to keep.
“Welker missed the Broncos’ first two games of the season with a suspension, and in his first three games back he accumulated 126 yards but no touchdowns. On Sunday, he caught three passes on three targets for 50 yards.
“He said it was ‘pretty incredible’ to be a part of Manning’s record-breaking day. He said the receivers hold each other accountable for making the plays necessary to move the ball downfield.
“‘He (Manning) really stays on guys and keeps the pressure on us in practice and we talk about it with each other, just go out there and execute each and every play, one play at a time,’ Welker said. ‘We just kind of focus on that and make sure we’re making plays when we have the opportunities. Peyton did a great job of finding guys and Ronnie did a great job running the football along with the offensive line. It was a complete game for us.'”
ESPN’s Jeff Legwold reveals Manning’s 509th touchdown pass — the pass which broke Brett Favre’s previous all-time record — had a little story to it. The Broncos actually planned “a game of keep-away with the ball” during practice should the record be set:
“Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos’ wide receivers had toyed with the idea of a game of keep-away with the ball should Manning set the NFL record for career touchdown passes Sunday night. The group even did it in Friday’s practice.
“‘He came to me…and said if anybody scores the 509, that’s what we should do,’ receiver Demaryius Thomas said. ‘He said, ‘Keep the ball away,’ like hopscotch or whatever. I was like, ‘Cool.’
“Manning threw his 509th career career touchdown pass — an 8-yarder to Thomas with 3 minutes, 9 seconds remaining in the second quarter Sunday night. And as the celebration commenced at Sports Authority Field, Manning went to retrieve the ball from Thomas, who tossed it to Emmanuel Sanders, who tossed it to Wes Welker, who tossed it back to Sanders, who then tossed it to Julius Thomas before Manning got the ball.
“‘We were definitely rehearsing it,’ Sanders said. ‘But I didn’t think we were going to do it. I ended up running to Demaryius, who had caught the touchdown, of course, and I was like ‘Let’s do it…let’s just do it.’ And we did it.’
“For his part, Manning said following Sunday night’s 42-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers he didn’t believe that, although the group talked about it during the week, the receivers would actually do it in the game.
“‘I can’t believe they actually did it,’ Manning said. ‘We sort of joked about it during the week…I’ve lost my vertical leap, it’s not there anymore, my side-to-side agility is not quite as quick, so it hurt me.
“‘But that was pretty funny, I enjoyed that and I’ll definitely remember a lot of things about (Sunday night), but I’ll definitely remember that part of it and the fact they had the guts to go ahead and go through with it.'”
Manning added another touchdown pass to Thomas in the third quarter to boost his career touchdown passes to 510. Aside from this, he has also thrown for 66,812 yards and 222 interceptions on a 97.7 passer rating in 246 career regular-season games with the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos through Oct. 20, per ESPN stats.