Peyton Manning's longest pass play of the preseason didn't go to one of his towering tight ends or his mammoth wide receivers.
Running back Lance Ball, who packs 215 pounds into his 5-foot-9 frame, lined up wide to the right across from a San Francisco 49ers linebacker and hauled in a 38-yard pass that set up Manning's first TD throw in orange and blue.
It was the latest example of the hybrid offense the Broncos (No. 10 in the AP Pro32) have installed since signing the four-time MVP in March, which spelled the end of the throwback read-option experiment under Tim Tebow.
Manning told his new coaches he wasn't interested in lugging the Colts' playbook from Indianapolis, offering instead to fit into the Broncos' system.