Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas set a team receiving record when he caught for 226 yards during the 41-20 win over the visiting Arizona Cardinals on Oct. 5.
Demaryius Thomas now holds the Denver Broncos' single-game record for receiving yards.
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The Broncos wide receiver caught for 226 yards -- including two touchdowns -- during the 41-20 victory over the visiting Arizona Cardinals on Oct. 5, per Andrew Mason of the Broncos' official website:
"It was so simple, when distilled to its essence: Demaryius Thomas ran a go route and was gone.
"With 1:48 left before halftime, the fifth-year wide receiver sprinted outside Arizona cornerback Antonio Cromartie up the left sideline, caught a pass delivered in stride from Peyton Manning and dashed away. The play covered 86 yards, a start-to-finish sprint which served thunderous notice that his September struggles were nothing more than a speed bump on his highway to greatness.
"By the time the Broncos' 41-20 dismantling of the previously undefeated Cardinals was complete, Thomas had a team record 226 receiving yards on eight receptions, scored two touchdowns and restored order to the offense -- and to his own 2014 season. By halftime Sunday, he had more yards than he amassed in the first three games.
"'People have talked about, 'This slump, that slump,' said head coach John Fox. 'But he answered the bell today and had a big day.'
"Ah, the 'slump.' A three-week stretch in which Thomas caught 13 passes for 141 yards, scored one touchdown and added a game-tying two-point conversion with 18 seconds left in regulation at Seattle.
"Those numbers put him on pace for a 69-catch, 752-yard season. Not bad. But nowhere near the pace he set from the end of 2011 through 2013, a 43-game stretch including the postseason in which he averaged 94 receptions for 1,471 yards a nd 12 touchdowns per 16 games.
"That is greatness. That is his standard, which he began to establish months before Manning signed with the Broncos.
"'He has no ceiling,' said fellow wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. 'He's fast -- he's just as fast as me. He can take you over the top, he can beat you underneath.'
"Thomas can do anything asked of a wide receiver in the modern, pass-intensive game. That's why Weeks 1-3 were so stunning, because he did not come close to meeting his expectations, even though he refused to call the reduced output a slump.
"'I can say I never had three (games) like my first three,' he said.
"In those games, I dropped four passes According to STATS, Inc., that put him in the league lead in drops per game (1.33). He endured an unknown struggle in an unfamiliar role, finding himself in the slot more often in Weeks 1 and 2, while Wes Welker missed two games to a league suspension.
"'I had to play slot because Welker was out and I'm not used to that,' Thomas said. 'I knew if it was like third-and-5, Peyton always went to Welker and I knew if I'm not open, he's going to be on me.
"'So I was thinking when I got the ball coming my way, I would drop it, and first one I dropped, I let it get to my head, (thinking), 'I'm letting down Peyton, I'm letting down my team.'
"...If the 6-foot-3, 229-pound Thomas could use his size and speed advantage to avoid a forced detour from his route at the snap, he would be in position for the type of big plays that have defined his career to date, but were missing in September.
"None were bigger than a touchdown that was the Broncos' longest offensive play in five years, a play that was the apex of the Manning-to-Demaryius connection that continues to propel the offense.
"'Demaryius always does that. He always goes off,' said Sanders. 'All the media has been criticizing him in terms of his production and things of that sort. I went on NFL Network and told them, ' Demaryius can go off at any moment and have a 200-yard game.'
"He did, and accomplished his team-record performance in the simplest fashion: by being bigger, faster, stronger and more agile than the man facing him, and exploiting the advantage at every turn."
According to The Denver Post's Mike Klis, Thomas broke the previous team record for receiving yards in a game which was 214. It was set by Shannon Sharpe in 2002 against the Kansas City Chiefs:
"The Broncos' single-game team record was 214 yards, set by tight end Shannon Sharpe in a 2002 overtime game at Kansas City.
"When the Broncos got the ball back with 3:28 left, the right people were made aware Thomas was 2 yards away from breaking Sharpe's record. Manning started the series with a 13-yard completion to Thomas. That gave him 226 receiving yards and the record. And to think about that 77-yard touchdown play in the third quarter that didn't count.
"'I don't know about getting Demaryius going -- he got himself going,' Manning said as he finished dressing at his locker. 'He challenged himself. It wasn't anything the coaches had to say. A great player like Demaryius, he knew.'"
The 26-year-old Thomas is in his fifth NFL season -- all spent with the Broncos. He has caught for 4,065 yards and 33 touchdowns in 57 career regular-season games through Oct. 7, per ESPN stats.
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