Manning gives big crowd some thrills

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Although he couldn’t duplicate the deep ball in the scrimmage, he capped his night with a nice touchdown toss to Decker, his favorite target so far in Denver.

“I thought Decker’s back-shoulder touchdown catch was awesome,” Manning said. “It was excellent coverage by (Drayton) Florence, but Decker did a good job holding his eyes until the last minute. The back shoulder fade is a hard route to cover, and that’s something he and I have been working on, so it was good to get that into play today.”

Manning made the call himself, too.

“The headphones went down, actually,” Manning said. “Instead of burning a timeout, (offensive coordinator Mike) McCoy told me, `If the phones go down, just call something that you like.’”

So, he did.

And now it’s onto next week and preparation for the preseason games, which Manning indicated he would treat as he always has. In Indy, Manning didn’t throw many passes in the exhibition games but he generally played a series or two in the opener, into the second quarter in the second game and maybe one series after halftime in the third game before sitting out the fourth one altogether.

“I think there’s a lot that we can try to get out of preseason,” Manning said. “You want to try to see different scenarios if you can. You’d love to get some short yardage, red-zone, goal-line, two-minute offense. I thought today was _ the two three-and-outs to start weren’t good, but we came back, had a good long drive and converted a couple of third downs, got a little red-zone work, got a third-down touchdown score.

“Hopefully you get all those types of situations throughout the four preseason games. I sort of look at the preseason as a group, as all four, trying to accomplish something. So, hopefully we can make some strides in the preseason. We still have some work to do.”

Notes: Fox said the only injury was to RB Mario Fannin, who wasn’t putting weight on his left leg as he was helped to the sideline during the scrimmage. Fannin also got hurt in camp last year. … TE Anthony Miller hobbled off after a low hit from S Syd’Quan Thompson on the final play. … With S Quinton Carter having undergone right knee surgery after a nasty fall inside the team’s practice bubble last month, the Broncos signed free agent S Jim Leonhard, who is coming off a December knee surgery. … RT Orlando Franklin (concussion) returned to action.

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Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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