Manning can orchestrate offense from sideline, too

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Peyton Manning can orchestrate the offense from the sideline, too.

The five-time MVP who has 139 TD throws since coming to Denver in 2012 lobbied for a pass and even suggested the particular play when backup Brock Osweiler got his first career touchdown toss.

On third-and-goal from the 1 just after the 2-minute warning Sunday, Osweiler rolled right and threw a dart to tight end Virgil Green, capping a 47-14 rout of the Raiders.

"I know Brock's been waiting forever," offensive coordinator Adam Gase said. "Every time he goes in, he's like, 'We're throwing it, right?' I'm like, 'No.' I mean, you try to give him a little bit of hope. But it was good that Coach (John) Fox gave us the green light.

"And our starting quarterback was killing me that we weren't going to throw it there on third-and-1," Gase added. "He talked Fox into it and he knew what Virg could do. So, it was a good call by Peyton."

Manning had been trying to get the fourth-year tight end his first score all season, and Osweiler has spent his first three years in the NFL going in for an occasional hand-off or kneel-down.

"So, it was good both of those guys got their first touchdowns at the same time," Manning said Wednesday. "I don't know what they did with the ball. There was a big argument, a big discussion over that."

Osweiler let Green keep the football, reasoning, "he waited longer for it."

"Yeah, that's true," Manning said. "That's probably a good point."

Reminded that Gase said he was giving him grief for considering calling another hand-off on third down, Manning responded: "Well, I called it. Yeah, I gave it to him. I don't know about killing him, I was telling him what he should call. He did it. So, it worked out well."

That Manning helped engineer the touchdown comes as no surprise.

He's long been called his own offensive coordinator because of his recall abilities, preparation and famous gyrations and audibles at the line of scrimmage.

Truth be told — and his play call Sunday notwithstanding — Manning has long acquiesced to his coaches.

Countering the popular notion that Manning needs no coaching is this fact: three of his former tutors are in the playoffs along with Gase, who's taken No. 18 to another level post-spinal fusion surgery.

Arizona coach Bruce Arians was his first QB coach when Manning arrived in the NFL in 1998. And Arians' right-hand man, Tom Moore, who has guided the Cardinals through three quarterbacks this season, was Manning's offensive coordinator during his 13 seasons in Indianapolis.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell was Manning's position coach the year Indy won the Super Bowl.

Now, Gase has a good chance of getting his own head coaching gig. He'll interview in Denver this week with the Bears, 49ers and Falcons about their vacancies now that the players have been given a three-day furlough beginning Thursday.

"It's an exciting opportunity for him, certainly opportunities that he deserves," Manning said. "But I know he's focused on helping us get ready for this playoff game no matter who we're playing."

The Broncos (12-4) will learn this weekend whether they'll face Pittsburgh, Cincinnati or Indianapolis in the divisional round Jan. 11 at Sports Authority Field.

Manning is a huge fan of Gase, 36, who was courted by Cleveland last year before withdrawing his name from the Browns' list in part to focus on the Broncos' Super Bowl quest.

"Last year I talked to a couple of teams on behalf of him that reached out to me and that may happen again, so I'm certainly glad to share my thoughts," Manning said. "I think it's pretty well-documented my thoughts on him. I don't think he needs me to stand up here and campaign for him. But I'm excited he's going to have the opportunity that he's going to have this weekend. He deserves it and I think the teams that he talks to will be impressed."

Notes: Manning and WR Demaryius Thomas sat out practice for the second straight day. ... K Connor Barth, who was tanning in Tampa six weeks ago when the Broncos came calling, was named AFC special teams player of the month.


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