January 02, 2005

Manning sets passer rating record

DENVER -- Watching Steve Young set the single-season passing rating record a decade ago, Denver coach Mike Shanahan figured it was a mark that would never be broken.

Little did he know someone like Peyton Manning would come along.

Manning finished off one of the greatest seasons for a quarterback Sunday, shattering Young's record by nearly nine points after setting the touchdown record the previous week.

Manning finished the season with a 121.1 rating, easily passing the 112.8 set by Young in 1994. This after Manning eclipsed one of the league's most coveted records last week against San Diego by throwing his 49th touchdown pass to move one past Dan Marino's 1984 record with Miami.

``I just don't think people understand what a feat that was,'' said Shanahan, who was the 49ers' offensive coordinator when Young set the record. ``I was with Steve Young when he had a 112 and I just couldn't imagine anyone breaking that record. So for Peyton to shatter that record just speaks volumes about what he's been able to accomplish this year.''

Just don't expect Manning to speak too much about it.

With a playoff game against the Broncos coming up next Sunday, he was mum about a season that ranks among the best of all-time.

``It's maybe something when I retire, maybe you think about that,'' Manning said. ``But when you are right here in the middle of it and looking to play a good team next week, that is something you have to get ready for. All I am thinking about is Denver next week.''

Still, the numbers are impressive.

Though he finished the season with the fewest passes (497) in his seven-year career, Manning set career-highs with 4,551 yards -- fourth all-time -- and a 67.6 percent completion rate. He also threw 10 interceptions, tying a career low.

Manning's big year led to some big numbers for the Colts.

Indianapolis finished with 522 points, fourth-most in league history and 44 behind Minnesota's 1998 record. The Colts also had 66 touchdowns, tying three other teams for third all-time, four behind the record set by the 1984 Dolphins.

``They're playing at a high level,'' Shanahan said.

Manning and the rest of the starters just didn't get much of a chance to add to it.

With the Colts already locked into the AFC's third playoff seed, he lasted one series against the Broncos, throwing two incompletions before being replaced by Jim Sorgi.

``It's not something you want to get used to,'' Manning said. ``I'd rather be out there playing.''

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