ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Peyton Manning said his 51-touchdown record will be short-lived, suggesting Tom Brady will take it back soon enough.
Or, for that matter, any number of other quarterbacks could break it should NFL owners get their way and expand the season to 18 games.
Perhaps he’s just being pragmatic.
Maybe he’s just being modest.
“I think if it does go to 18 games, I think that is a practical assessment,” said tight end Julius Thomas, who caught the record-breaker in Denver’s 37-13 win at Houston on Sunday. “Those two extra games would give a quarterback two additional opportunities to go out there and put more touchdowns on the board.
“I think that will skew a lot of records. But you know he’s also a modest person. That’s who he is. It’s pretty remarkable to throw 51 touchdowns. I believe records are meant to be broken and most are broken. But that’s one that could stand for a while.”
It will stand for a long time, suggested Eric Decker, who retrieved the record-breaking memento when Thomas nonchalantly dropped it, unaware of the famous football’s emotional or even economic value.
“Of course he’s being modest,” Decker said Monday. “I think it’s a tough feat. Fifty-plus touchdowns in a season, you’ve got to do something very, very special. (Dan) Marino had it for such a long time and then it went back and forth for a while. But I think with the game how it is now, it’s more of an offensive game and you have more opportunities to maybe do something like this.
“But I think the numbers he has put up, I think it’s tough to match those unless you have an unbelievable year.”
Also, Broncos strongside linebacker Von Miller is done for the year after tests revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, which he injured in the first quarter of Denver’s 37-13 win at Houston on Sunday.
LONG HAS TORN ACL, MCL: In St. Louis, Rams tackle Jake Long has a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a torn MCL, and coach Jeff Fisher said surgery will likely be delayed 4-6 weeks to allow the MCL to heal first. Long was injured backpedaling in pass protection on the third snap in Sunday’s win over Tampa Bay.
SCHWARTZ REGRETS SHOUTING BACK AT BOOING FANS: In Allen Park, Mich., Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said he should have kept his thoughts to himself instead of shouting at booing fans.
Schwartz reluctantly acknowledged Monday he did say something to the crowd during the final seconds of the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 23-20 overtime loss to the New York Giants.
The previous day at his postgame news conference, Schwartz insisted he wasn’t responding to the fans who voiced their displeasure with the decision to play for overtime.
The Lions eliminated themselves from the NFC North title race by losing five of their last six games.
TEAM SENDS PLAYOFF TICKETS TO SOME FANS: The Detroit Lions dealt some fans a blow one day after a 23-20 loss to the New York Giants eliminated them from playoff contention.
People who committed to buying postseason tickets from the Lions received them in the mail on Monday.
Team president Tom Lewand confirmed money spent on playoff games will be credited toward season-ticket renewals for the 2014 season.
PRYOR BACK IN AS STARTER: In Alameda, Calif., Terrelle Pryor will stat at quarterback for the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, replacing Matt McGloin for the final regular-season game.
Coach Dennis Allen made the announcement at the end of his news conference Monday, saying it was “part of the plan” that apparently took shape when Pryor recovered from an injury to his right knee in late November.
The recent performances of McGloin were also a factor. In the past two games alone, the undrafted rookie quarterback threw six interceptions and lost two fumbles.
Oakland went 3-5 in the eight games Pryor started before getting hurt. He has made only a few cameo appearances since then but did not play in Sunday’s 26-13 loss to San Diego.