The Ravens entered the game as the reigning Super Bowl champions and were forced to play on the road in the opener because of a scheduling conflict with the Baltimore Orioles. Manning dispatched the champs with ease after throwing an NFL-record seven touchdown passes.
Ten years have passed since Manning and the Broncos had that historic performance under the primetime lights. Heavy on Broncos will dive into the 2013 season opener, including how Denver fared the rest of the way after that game.
Playoff Rematch Opened the 2013 NFL Season
The season opener was hardly the only memorable matchup between the Broncos and Ravens in 2013. Denver entered the 2012 playoffs as the AFC’s top seed following a stellar first season for Manning in the Mile High City.
Baltimore hit the road to play the Broncos after defeating the Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card Round. The Ravens advanced to the AFC Championship after a double-overtime thriller that sent Manning and company packing in front of their home crowd.
The Ravens were supposed to host the opener the following season as a reward for winning the Super Bowl. Only the Orioles, their stadium neighbor, had a game scheduled against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday, September 5, 2013. The Ravens and Orioles share a parking lot and avoid playing at the same time because of traffic congestion.
When the Orioles wouldn’t budge, the Ravens were off to Denver when the schedule was announced. Needless to say, the Broncos avenged their early playoff exit.
Manning threw for 462 yards and tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes in a 49-27 blowout. The passing yardage was the third-most of Manning’s 18-year career after throwing for 479 yards in an October 2014 game against the Arizona Cardinals.
According to ESPN, Manning became the sixth quarterback to throw seven touchdown passes in a game and the first since Joe Kapp of the Minnesota Vikings in September 1969. Three players had two touchdown receptions in the victory. The record-breaking seventh touchdown pass came on a 78-yarder to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.
Broncos Rode Opening Night Blowout to a Super Bowl Appearance
The 2013 Broncos were nothing short of dominant on offense. Baltimore was merely the first victim of their offensive onslaught that season.
With Manning orchestrating the offense, Denver scored an NFL-record 606 points in the regular season. Manning won his fifth NFL MVP award after setting records in touchdown passes (55) and passing yardage (5,477). Both records remain intact heading into the 2023 campaign.
Manning also had nine games with four touchdowns and four 400-yard showings in 2013, according to Mile High Report. Aside from Manning, Denver’s offense had four pass catchers score at least ten touchdowns. Those players were Thomas (14), Eric Decker (11), Wes Welker (10) and tight end Julius Thomas (12). Running back Knowshon Moreno added 13 total touchdowns on the ground and through the air.
The Broncos went 13-3 and clinched the top seed in the AFC for the second consecutive season. Denver advanced to the 2014 Super Bowl where they were defeated 43-8 by the Seattle Seahawks.