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Denver Broncos - PlayerWatch

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

QB Peyton Manning set the league's single-season passing yardage record with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas late in the second quarter Sunday, finishing one yard ahead of Drew Brees' total in 2011. The pass was Manning's fourth touchdown toss of the game, and pushed his league-record total to 55, beating Tom Brady's old mark by five.

C Steve Vallos missed Sunday's game because of a concussion incurred when he was hit by Houston's Jared Crick on a first-quarter kickoff return on Dec. 22. He has not received the go-ahead to return through the NFL's post-concussion protocol.

WR Wes Welker was held out of a third consecutive game, but practiced last week and has been cleared through the league's post-concussion protocol. Welker was held out of Sunday's game as a precaution. He suffered his second concussion in four games against the Titans on Dec. 8.

DE Robert Ayers played 44 snaps on Sunday, more than anyone else on Denver's defense. Some of that was due to liberal substitution and resting of players after the Broncos built a 31-point halftime lead, but Ayers will also provide part of the pass-rush replacement for Von Miller in the postseason, so the increase in snaps should continue into the playoffs.

WR Demaryius Thomas caught two touchdown passes, including a 5-yarder to give Peyton Manning the league's single-season passing-yardage record. Thomas finished with 14 touchdown passes this season, matching Anthony Miller's franchise record, set in 1995.

S Duke Ihenacho will go through the league-mandated post-concussion protocol after leaving midway through Sunday's win over the Raiders. Ihenacho has returned to the starting lineup the last two weeks, but is working primarily in the base defense.

LB Nate Irving started in place of Von Miller on Sunday. He played 30 snaps and finished with two tackles for losses and a first-quarter sack of Terrelle Pryor.

CB Champ Bailey continued working as the slot cornerback and was also used to blitz Terrelle Pryor. Bailey expressed excitement about the possibility of being used in a pass-rush role now that he has moved to slot cornerback duty, which also helps limit his repetitions owing to the sprained foot that has dogged him since August.

DL Derek Wolfe missed a fifth consecutive game after suffering seizure-like symptoms on Nov. 29, two days before the Broncos' second win over the Chiefs this season. Wolfe practiced Wednesday and Friday of last week, but missed a day's work because of the flu. Broncos coach John Fox said Monday that Wolfe is being "eased" back into football condition.

S Michael Huff replaced Omar Bolden when the Broncos went into nickel and dime packages. The Broncos have had issues and instability at safety in recent weeks since Rahim Moore's injury and Duke Ihenacho's reduction in playing time because of issues in coverage. Huff played 25 snaps Sunday.

CB Kayvon Webster missed a second consecutive game after having surgery to repair a fractured thumb on Dec. 13. Webster practiced three days last week with a cast on his right hand.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/131231/denver-broncos-playerwatch