Manning overcomes many hurdles in season for ages

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -- With Peyton Manning on the verge of breaking Tom Brady's single-season touchdown record, Houston interim coach Wade Phillips calls this "just the best year ever of any quarterback."

The Denver Broncos have needed every one of Manning's many exploits to make up for a host of problems.

Before the season even started, the Broncos lost Elvis Dumervil to the Baltimore Ravens in the infamous fax fiasco that made him a surprising free agent, Von Miller to a six-game drug suspension, John Elway's top two lieutenants to drunken driving arrests and not one but two centers to medical issues.

In August, Champ Bailey suffered a foot injury that would turn him into a sideline spectator for most of the year. In September, Manning's blindside protector went on injured reserve.