DENVER (AP) — In an unexpected twist, Peyton Manning was the one who needed some bailing out.
On a day when the Denver Broncos quarterback threw three interceptions and lost a fumble, Von Miller and the defense stepped up in a 45-21 win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
The much-maligned defensive unit — last in the league against the pass — harassed Robert Griffin III all afternoon. The Broncos (7-1) forced five turnovers and showed signs of rounding back into form, with Miller recording his first sack since coming back from his six-game suspension a week ago.
As they head into their bye week, Manning and his high-flying offense are having some issues. Hard to believe for an offense averaging 42.8 points — the most through eight games in NFL history.
After the contest, Manning said he felt bad for putting his defense in a bind time after time against Washington (2-5).
"We really put our team in a tough spot," said Manning, who threw for 354 yards and four TDs. "I don't think frustrated is the word. I think determined is the word, to overcome those mistakes."
The defense certainly made big plays to overcome them. Chris Harris, Rahim Moore, Shaun Phillips and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie all had interceptions. Rodgers-Cromartie capped the win when he picked off a pass from backup Kirk Cousins and high-stepped his way into the end zone for a 75-yard score to close Denver's game-ending 38-0 run.
The Broncos spoiled the homecoming of Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, who made his return to the place where he spent 14 seasons and led the Broncos to their only two Super Bowl titles. He was honored before the game with a video tribute and a warm ovation from the fans.
The Redskins had a 21-7 lead early in the third quarter. Then, the fun was over for Denver's ex-coach.
"They kind of took control," Shanahan said. "So, credit Denver for finding a way to play well after they were down 21-7. It's disappointing we couldn't get that rhythm going ourselves."
As the Broncos head into their off week, and the Redskins try to get back on track next week against San Diego, here are five things to keep in mind:
PEYTON'S RECORD RUN: Manning is on pace to throw for 5,838 yards and 58 touchdowns, both of which would shatter NFL records. Not bad for a 37-year-old quarterback who missed his first regular-season practice as a Bronco last week with an injured ankle. He didn't offer much about that ankle after Sunday's game, other than to say he knows there's always a lot of speculation when he's injured. "I'm going to go on the injured report starting now under 'body,' and keep me there all season," he quipped.