ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Of all the records Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos' high-octane offense set this season, one stands out to wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert.
"I call it the 5-10 group," he said Friday as the Broncos wrapped up a week of light practice and headed off for a weekend furlough afforded the AFC's top seed.
The Broncos (13-3) are the first team to have five players score at least 10 touchdowns in a season: Demaryius Thomas (14), Knowshon Moreno (13), Julius Thomas (12), Eric Decker (11) and Wes Welker (10).
No other team has ever had more than three players hit double-digit TDs.
"That tells you about the players we have on our team, the way Peyton spreads the ball out, how anybody can score at any given time," Tolbert said. "To have five guys have 10 touchdowns or more is just unbelievable to me."
Manning says his unprecedented 55 TD passes and 5,477 yards through the air are only temporary records which will be surpassed by Tom Brady or Drew Brees in a year or two — or by any number of other quarterbacks if NFL owners get their way and expand the regular season from 16 to 18 games.
Tolbert thinks the 5-10 group, which includes Moreno's 10 TD runs and three TD catches, has nothing to sweat.
"They can go to 18 games and that yardage record can be in jeopardy and all that stuff, but that 5-10 group, that's going to be hard to break," he said.
At 37.9 points per game, Denver is the highest-scoring team of the Super Bowl era and the beauty of the Broncos' offense is its balance.
Manning targeted his three starting receivers almost identically: Demaryius Thomas (8.87 times a game), Welker (8.54), Decker (8.5). Julius Thomas, whose dozen TDs broke Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe's club record for tight ends, was targeted 6.42 times per game.
Each member of Manning's receiving corps brings a different skill set to the equation. The common thread is a refreshing unselfishness in an age where prima donnas so often demand passes and attention.
"You never hear them talk about any numbers, anything like that because they know with Peyton Manning the quarterback, they all have a chance to get the ball on any given play," Tolbert said.
Even when Decker was having trouble finding the end zone early on, his big blocks on screens were springing Demaryius Thomas, who led the league's receivers with 718 yards after the catch.