- Associated Press - Sunday, August 24, 2014

DENVER (AP) - Peyton Manning didn’t take long to settle into a rhythm with his newest option, Emmanuel Sanders.

That’s good timing, too, especially with Wes Welker suffering another concussion.

Sanders returned to the field Saturday night after missing a chunk of training camp with an ailing thigh and quickly developed a rapport with the Denver Broncos quarterback.

Sanders caught five passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns in an 18-17 preseason loss to Houston.

But the burgeoning chemistry between Manning and Sanders was overshadowed a bit by the loss of Welker, who has to go through the league’s concussion protocol before he can return. Welker missed the final three games last season after his second concussion.

Sanders put on quite a show Saturday and punctuated his performance by unveiling his newest TD celebration move - a bow to the crowd. He expects to be doing a lot of bowing in this potent offense, especially now that he’s on the same page with No. 18.

“Peyton made it easy on me,” said Sanders, who’s swapping Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger for Manning after signing a free-agent deal in March. “Every single pass that I caught was a good ball, a catchable ball.”

Then again, this is Manning, who takes pride in his precision. But all of that is predicated on one thing - timing. With Sanders only practicing sparingly this month, Manning hasn’t had the reps with the receiver that’s expected to fill the cleats of Eric Decker.

That’s why Manning looked for Sanders early and often against the Texans, throwing his way eight times.

At the start, they looked a little out of sync, with defensive back A.J. Bouye jumping in front of a Sanders route and picking off a pass.

Sanders pounded the ground in frustration as if he may have been culpable, but after the game Manning took responsibility for the miscue.

“That was a bad throw - a bad throw and a bad decision,” Manning said. “It wasn’t open. Poor throw and poor decision by me.”

They quickly made up for it, with Sanders hauling in a 67-yard TD pass late in the second quarter and then a 29-yarder a minute later. Sanders then unveiled his bow, which fired up the crowd.

“At the end of a show, you give a bow,” Sanders explained. “We’re all actors. We’re all entertainers. It’s an end-of-the-show bow.

“I’m extremely optimistic about this offense and the potential of it.”

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