2014 DRAFT GUIDE
5 things to know after Broncos beat Titans 51-28

    2013-12-09 02:36

Broncos 51, Titans 28. With AP Photos.
By EDDIE PELLS
AP National Writer

DENVER (AP) - All season, Matt Prater has been an afterthought on a team that's rewriting the record books on the strength of Peyton Manning's passing arm.

Now, the Broncos kicker has his name next to one of the most hallowed NFL marks of all.

Prater booted a 64-yard field goal to highlight Denver's 51-28 victory over Tennessee on Sunday, brushing aside the mark of 63 yards that was first set by Tom Dempsey, the club-footed Saints kicker, all the way back in 1970.

''I knew I hit it pretty good, but I just wasn't sure with the cold and everything if it was going to make it,'' Prater said. ''But when I saw the refs' hands go up, I can't even explain how I felt after.''

Yes, it was cold - 18 degrees at kickoff. But on a day supposedly not well-suited for kicking or throwing, Manning joined Prater in merely laughing at the weather. Manning also sent a message in his own special way to the folks who've been questioning his ability to play when it's cold.

''I won't try to answer it because I didn't give it any validation in the first place,'' said the quarterback, who is 4-7 in games where the temperature is 32 or below at kickoff.

Manning completed a franchise-record 39 passes. His 59 attempts tied the Broncos mark. He finished with 397 yards and this marked his seventh four-touchdown game, most in NFL history in a season. By outscoring the Titans (5-8) 31-7 in the second half, the Broncos (11-2) wrapped up a playoff spot that was all but a foregone conclusion.

They still need wins to secure the AFC West and home-field advantage. But their last three opponents, starting Thursday with San Diego, have a combined record of 12-27. It will be an upset if the Broncos lose - or if Manning fails to break the single-season touchdowns record. He has 45 and needs six more.

Five things we learned from Denver's chilly victory over Tennessee:

IT'S NOT THE COLD: Manning is now 2-2 in cold games with the Broncos. The two victories came over Kansas City last year and Tennessee this year, teams with a combined .259 winning percentage. The two losses came to Baltimore, the eventual Super Bowl champions, in last season's playoffs and New England this year. The newest thought on Manning and the weather: It's more who he's going against than the conditions he's playing them in.

PLAYOFF CHATTER: The Titans are now playing to finish at .500. A playoff spot, however, is a very remote possibility. Though they got off to a wonderful start - a 57-yard pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Justin Hunter on the game's fourth play set up an early touchdown - Tennessee couldn't sustain against a team with this much firepower. As a result, the Titans are closing in on their fifth straight season without a playoff appearance. ''I'm not worrying about that,'' coach Mike Munchak said. ''You're going to see us at our best the next three games.''

WES WORRIES: Wes Welker took a blow to the head in the second quarter and left with a concussion. It's his second concussion in four games. With a short turnaround, it would be a surprise if he's ready for the Chargers. It's quite a loss, of course. Though he played only a half, Manning targeted him 10 times and he caught five passes for 61 yards and a touchdown.

THE GOOD AND THE BAD: The Broncos defense was unimpressive early, allowing big plays and three touchdowns over the first 23 minutes. In the end, however, Tennessee converted only two of nine third downs and ran only 48 plays, compared to 91 for the Broncos offense. And the Titans gained only 254 yards, the lowest total the Broncos have allowed all season. Meanwhile, special teams gave up a 95-yard return. But a day in which the kicker sets an NFL record almost has to be viewed as a good one.

BRIGHT FUTURE: Hunter, the Titans rookie second-round draft pick, caught four passes for 115 yards and a score. He has now surpassed the 100-yard mark twice in the last three games. It's a bright sign for an offense in desperate need of some playmakers - a need made that much more glaring on a day when Chris Johnson gained only 46 yards and averaged 3.8 per carry.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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Follow AP National Writer Eddie Pells on Twitter: http://twitter.com/epells

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Philip RiversDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) is active Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:12p

The San Diego Chargers have declared LB Cordarro Law, DL Damion Square, CB Greg Ducre, WR Keenan Allen, P Mike Scifres, DL Ryan Carrethers, RB Ryan Mathews inactive for Week 16.

Carlos HydeDec 20 07:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20.

Ahmad BrooksDec 20 07:02p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared LB Ahmad Brooks, OG Andrew Tiller, RB Carlos Hyde, OG Joe Looney, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Stevie Johnson, CB Tramaine Brock inactive for Week 16.

Dennis KellyDec 20 03:32p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, WR Jeff Maehl, S Jerome Couplin III, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, DE Taylor Hart, LB Trent Cole inactive for Week 16.

Leonard HankersonDec 20 03:12p

The Washington Redskins have declared CB Chibuikem Okoro, LB Gabe Miller, DL Jason Hatcher, OG Josh LeRibeus, LB Keenan Robinson, WR Leonard Hankerson inactive for Week 16.

Roy HeluDec 20 03:02p

Washington Redskins RB Roy Helu (toe) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20, against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Peyton ManningDec 19 07:42p

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Frank GoreDec 19 05:42p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) was limited in practice Friday, Dec. 19, and is questionable for Week 16.

Keenan AllenDec 19 04:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) and WR Keenan Allen (shoulder, ankle) have been ruled out for Week 16 against the San Francisco 49ers.

Cam NewtonDec 19 04:12p

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T Y HiltonDec 19 02:32p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) missed practice all week but is questionable for Week 16 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Peyton ManningDec 19 02:22p

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T Y HiltonDec 19 02:12p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) missed practice again Friday, Dec. 19, and RTV6's Mike Chappell is convinced that Hilton will not play in Week 16 against the Dallas Cowboys.

C.J. SpillerDec 19 12:53p

Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder) has been added to the active roster and is probable for Week 16 against the Oakland Raiders.

Cam NewtonDec 19 12:52p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) is listed as probable for Week 16 against the Cleveland Browns.

Blake BortlesDec 19 12:12p

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T Y HiltonDec 19 11:52a

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Julio JonesDec 19 11:22a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is not participating in portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

DeMarco MurrayDec 19 10:52a

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Leon WashingtonDec 18 11:32p

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Philip RiversDec 18 11:22p

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Roy MillerDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Tommy StreeterDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Kendall WrightDec 18 07:12p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright (hand) is active for Week 16 after being limited in practice all week.

Frank GoreDec 18 07:02p

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Julius ThomasDec 18 06:52p

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Rashad JenningsDec 18 06:12p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Carlos HydeDec 18 05:52p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

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