Published: October 4, 2013
ENGLEWOOD - Great isn't good enough for Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
They're treating opponents like the scout squad they practice against, moving up and down the field with little resistance, seemingly the only ones who can stop them is themselves.
Manning shrugged off yet another record-setting performance in a 52-20 dismantling of the Eagles on Sunday, saying the Broncos (4-0) are a work in progress.
Coach John Fox concurred, saying Monday, "I expect us to get better. People look at me funny when I say that, but there's still a lot of areas we need to improve."
His list of worries:
Inconsistent ground game.
Not finishing teams off.
"We left points out on the field yesterday," Fox suggested. "... So, there's plenty to work on."
Manning, just two years removed from the neck injuries and surgeries that threatened to cut short his career, is off to the best start of any quarterback in NFL history.
He's 16-0 after one month.
Sixteen touchdown passes, zero interceptions.
No NFL quarterback has ever had a September like Manning, who completed 75 percent of his passes for 1,470 yards as the Broncos rolled over the Ravens, Giants, Raiders and Eagles by an average score of 45-22.
"It's always good to do good," Fox said. "The game is only fun when you win and I think we're doing it pretty well as a team right now. We just need that to continue. If we spend time breaking our arms patting ourselves on the back, it won't happen."
At this rate, Manning would throw for 64 touchdowns, besting Tom Brady's record of 50, and 5,880 yards, topping Drew Brees' mark of 5,476.
Wes Welker, who already has six touchdown catches, as many as he had all of last year in New England, is another member of the unsatisfied club.
"I know there are some things that I could have done better personally, but I'm sure everybody feels that way in this locker room," Welker said.
Manning noted that Broncos executive vice president John Elway fostered an uncomfortable environment at team headquarters following Denver's playoff loss against the Baltimore Ravens.
Every year, Manning picks out something that will serve as his burnishing stone for the upcoming season. He didn't have to look far to find this year's motivation. Manning has been on a mission ever since trudging off the field after Denver's double-overtime playoff loss to the Ravens, the Broncos' only slip-up since last Oct. 7, a defeat that he said left a scar on him and the franchise.