Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas did nearly everything the right way during Peyton Manning’s record setting touchdown pass on Sunday.
Thomas lined up on the outside as a receiver. He blew past Houston Texans linebacker Darryl Sharpton. Then he caught a perfectly placed pass by Manning, giving the quarterback 51 touchdown passes this season, which set an NFL record.
Then Thomas dropped the ball to celebrate like it was just a normal touchdown. However, it was not.
Broncos receiver Eric Decker understood the significance of Manning’s touchdown, which prompted him to pick up the ball and hide it in his jersey.
“I dropped the ball so fast to do my usual thing and Deck (Decker) picked the ball up so fast,” Thomas said. “I was like, “Why did Deck picked the ball up so fast?” I’m not paying any attention and I came back to the sidelines and I’m sitting down on the bench and somebody said, “That was the one!” Maybe I shouldn’t have dropped it so carelessly, I should’ve kept it.”
The ball did not land on eBay. Instead, Decker eventually gave the prized possession to Manning, and apparently it was a good thing Thomas did not realize what occurred.
“Julius, it wouldn’t have surprised me if he had handed it to some babe up in the stands and tried to get her phone number in exchange for the ball,” Manning told reporters after the game. “That’d be right up Julius’ alley. That’s pretty in line with his thinking often times. Great catch, great route by him and, like I said, Decker’s catch was awesome, that’s probably one of the best ones of the year in my opinion.”
With all of the celebration that occurred after Manning set the record, he missed Decker’s magic trick.
“I missed all of that,” Manning said. “I saw Julius score the touchdown, and I remember it kind of brought a smile to my face and after that a lot of people coming toward me and whacking me in the head and slapping me, so I was trying to come out of that unscathed, but I appreciated the coaches and teammates coming up to me and I thanked each one of them as well, because that’s really how grateful I am for all of their help and support.”
Manning should be grateful Decker finally gave him that historic ball, too.
- - - - - - -