This was one ball Peyton Manning wanted in his grasp.
Comically, his teammates initially wouldn't give it to him. And then he agreed to give it away, anyhow.
Manning's receivers played keep-away with his milestone memento, and the NFL's new leader in career touchdown passes toyed with the San Francisco 49ers in the Denver Broncos' 42-17 romp Sunday night.
Manning went into the showdown two TDs shy of Brett Favre's record of 508 and threw four touchdown passes, giving him 510. He surpassed Favre's mark with an 8-yard strike to Demaryius Thomas late in the second quarter. As he went to retrieve the football, his teammates decided to have some fun.
Thomas tossed the historic ball over Manning and to Emmanuel Sanders, who then lobbed it to Wes Welker. From there, Welker dished it back to Sanders, who then flipped it to Julius Thomas — all of Manning's favorite targets getting into the act.
"I heard whispers about something," Manning said. "Those guys are all great athletes, and my vertical leap isn't what it used to be.
"I haven't played keep-away since I was 8 years old. That is something I will always remember."
Finally, Manning got the ball along with congratulations from his teammates and coaches.
The souvenir won't end up on Manning's mantle, however — it's headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Manning needed just four drives Sunday night to break the record. He threw a 3-yard TD pass to Sanders on Denver's first drive and tied the record when Welker took a pass over the middle for 39 yards. His final TD of the night was a 40-yarder to Thomas, giving him 510.
Manning reached the milestone in his 246th regular-season game. Favre needed 302.
"I think Brett has always known he is one of my favorite players," Manning said. "He played the position with so much passion, so much toughness and great production as a quarterback.
"I am honored to join this club with him."
Denver is 5-1 and San Francisco is 4-3.
The weekend began with New England (5-2) beating the New York Jets (1-6) on Thursday night, 27-25. Monday night, it's Houston (3-3) at Pittsburgh (3-3).
Off this week were Philadelphia (5-1) and Tampa Bay (1-5).
RAMS 28, SEAHAWKS 26
At St. Louis, special teams trickery was decisive for the Rams (2-4).
Punter Johnny Hekker's pass from the St. Louis 18 caught the Seahawks by surprise for the last of three big plays by those special teams.
Stedman Bailey had a 90-yard touchdown on a trick return that fooled the Seahawks into thinking another player was going to catch the punt. Benny Cunningham's 75-yard kickoff return set up an early touchdown for the Rams.
Russell Wilson rushed for 106 yards on seven carries and passed for two touchdowns while going 23 for 36 for 313 yards.
The Seahawks (3-3) dominated statistically, outgaining the Rams 463-272. Doug Baldwin's' 9-yard reception cut the deficit to two with 3:18 to go, but the Rams were able to run out the clock after Hekker's completion to Cunningham.
"Some unbelievable cool things that they were able to do on special teams and it made a big difference," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
PACKERS 38, PANTHERS 17
Sure-tackling Green Bay (5-2) limited quarterback Cam Newton in the first half. The host Packers scored touchdowns on their first three series and led 28-3 at halftime.
Newton, who had a career-high 17 carries last week, had 41 yards rushing on seven attempts. He passed for 205 yards for Carolina (3-3-1).
CHIEFS 23, CHARGERS 20
At San Diego, Cairo Santos kicked a 48-yard field goal with 21 seconds left, and the Chiefs snapped the Chargers' five-game winning streak.
Coming off their bye, the Chiefs (3-3) made the AFC West a three-team race, pulling within 1½ games of San Diego (5-2). The Broncos (5-1) lead the division.
The Chiefs' Andy Reid is 14-2 after a bye week, the most victories for any coach.
The Chargers flunked their sternest test in a month and lost for the first time since a defeat at Arizona in the season opener.
JAGUARS 24, BROWNS 6
Denard Robinson ran for a career-high 127 yards and a touchdown, Jacksonville's defense came up big in the red zone, and the Jaguars snapped a nine-game losing streak.
Jacksonville (1-6) won for the first time since beating Houston on Dec. 15, 2013.
Blake Bortles connected with fellow rookie Allen Robinson for a 31-yard score and the game's first touchdown. It was really all the Jaguars needed on a day in which coach Gus Bradley's defense delivered time and time again.
The visiting Browns (3-3) entered the game with the NFL's third-best rushing attack. The Browns ran 30 times for 69 yards, including 36 by Ben Tate.
COWBOYS 31, GIANTS 21
DeMarco Murray broke Jim Brown's 56-year-old NFL record with his seventh straight 100-yard rushing game to start a season. The host Cowboys (6-1) won their sixth straight.
Tony Romo threw three touchdown passes, and had a fourth scoring pass overturned on replay. Instead, Murray wound up with his seventh TD rushing on a 1-yard plunge.
Murray finished with 128 yards rushing to pass Brown, who hit the century mark in the first six games of the 1958 season for Cleveland.
The Cowboys are off to their best start since they went 13-3 in 2007 and were the top seed in the NFC before losing to New York in their first playoff game.
Eli Manning had three touchdown passes for the Giants (3-4).
CARDINALS 24, RAIDERS 13
Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes in his return to Oakland to send the Raiders to their 12th straight loss, six this season.
"This is as bad as you're going to get through the first part of the season," safety Charles Woodson said. "We haven't won a game. How much worse can it get than that, than not winning a game?"
LIONS 24, SAINTS 23
At Detroit, the Saints blew another road game in the final moments.
The Saints (2-4) were in control late in the fourth quarter when Stafford found Golden Tate for a 73-yard catch-and-run that made it 23-17. Then, Drew Brees was intercepted on third down by Glover Quin, whose 23-yard return gave the Lions (5-2) the ball at the New Orleans 14.
Detroit caught a break when Rafael Bush was called for pass interference on fourth down. Stafford eventually connected with Fuller in the back of the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown and the win.
The Saints committed 12 penalties for 134 yards.
COLTS 27, BENGALS 0
At Indianapolis, Andrew Luck threw two touchdown passes, and the Colts' defense dominated Cincinnati. Indy churned out 506 yards.
Luck was 27 of 42 for 344 yards as Indianapolis (5-2) won its fifth straight. It was Indy's first shutout since December 2008 and the 500th victory in franchise history.
Cincinnati (3-2-1), which hasn't won since starting 3-0, endured its first shutout since December 2009 and had a franchise-record-tying 11 punts.
Colts linebacker Erik Walden was ejected in the first half for making contact with umpire Bruce Stritesky.
RAVENS 29, FALCONS 7
At Baltimore, Elvis Dumervil and Pernell McPhee each had two sacks, part of a dominant defensive performance. Baltimore (5-2) led 17-0 at halftime and coasted to its second straight blowout win. The Ravens beat Tampa Bay 48-17 last week.
The Falcons (2-5) averted their first shutout loss since December 2004 when Matt Ryan connected with Roddy White for a 4-yard touchdown with 7:12 remaining. It was Atlanta's first fourth-quarter score in five games; the Falcons have lost four in a row.
DOLPHINS 27, BEARS 14
At Chicago, the Bears (3-4) remained winless in three home games this season and have dropped five of their last seven at Soldier Field. Matt Forte scored two touchdowns and Jeremiah Ratliff finished with a career-best 3 1/2 sacks.
Ryan Tannehill threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns for Miami (3-3), connecting on his first 14 passes.
REDSKINS 19, TITANS 17
Kai Forbath's 22-yard field goal on the last play won it for the host Redskins.
The Redskins (2-5) snapped a four-game losing streak. The Titans (2-5) saw Charlie Whitehurst go 17 for 26 for 160 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
BILLS 17, VIKINGS 16
The Bills gave their hometown fans a last-second thrill — literally. Kyle Orton hit rookie Sammy Watkins on a 2-yard touchdown pass with 1 second remaining. That capped a 15-play, 80-yard drive which Orton extended by converting a fourth-and-20.
Orton overcame an interception, a lost fumble and six sacks to finish 31 of 43 for 283 yards and two touchdowns — both to Watkins.
The Vikings (2-5) forced four turnovers.
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