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Old pro that he is, Manning celebrated briefly with teammates, then spread around the credit the same way he keeps his receivers happy. He praised past great Dan Marino, current rival Tom Brady, nearly every coach on staff by name, his receivers, running backs, offensive line and defense, as well as the doctors and trainers who helped him heal and then recover from four neck surgeries in the last few years.

Among the people who wondered whether he’d ever touch those old heights was Manning himself. If this statement wasn’t enough, well, check back in when the league’s Most Valuable Player award is announced.

“I think it’s well documented that this is the second chapter of my career and didn’t know what to expect off that injury and new team, new players and new physical state after an injury. So I had no idea what to expect. … When something like this happens,” Manning said, “it just reminds me even more of how grateful and thankful I am for a lot of people that have helped me during this second chapter.”

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Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)ap.org and follow him at Twitter.com/JimLitke.