HOUSTON - Denver's Peyton Manning regained the NFL record for touchdown passes in a season with his 51st scoring strike as he led the Broncos to their third straight AFC West title in a 37-13 win over the Houston Texans (2-13) on Sunday.
The loss extended the Texans' losing streak to 13 games.
Manning surpassed the 50 TD passes Tom Brady threw in 2007 on a 25-yard pass to Julius Thomas with 4 minutes, 28 seconds remaining. Just 21/2 minutes earlier, he tied the mark with a 20-yard pass to Eric Decker.
Manning threw for 400 yards and four scores, including three in the fourth quarter. He figures Brady will overtake the record again one day, especially if the NFL moves to an 18-game regular season.
"I think it's a unique thing and a neat thing to be a part of NFL history, even though it may be temporary," he said. "So I'm going to enjoy it as long as it lasts, and hopefully the Hall of Fame will send the ball back [to me] once somebody throws for more."
Manning's first touchdown came on a 36-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas in the second quarter. The second was a 10-yard throw to Decker earlier in the fourth period.
Manning has a career-high 5,211 yards passing this season, third in NFL history and 265 yards shy of the record 5,476 yards Drew Brees gained in 2011.
After Manning made the record-setting throw to Thomas, he walked toward the end zone, where his teammates patted him on the head. As he walked to the sideline, his teammates came out to greet him, and he gave high-fives as he grinned and walked to the bench.
Houston's Andre Johnson finished with four catches for 63 yards. He has 103 catches this season to reach 100 for the fifth time in his career, tying an NFL record for most seasons with at least that many receptions.
Broncos 37, Texans 13
Denver 3 13 0 21 - 37
Houston 3 3 7 0 - 13
Den-FG Prater 32, 8:50.
Hou-FG Bullock 45, 2:02.
Den-D.Thomas 36 pass from Manning (Prater kick), 14:54.
Hou-FG Bullock 35, 6:06.
Den-FG Prater 25, :56.
Den-FG Prater 44, :00.
Hou-Martin 15 pass from Schaub (Bullock kick), 10:33.
Den-Decker 10 pass from Manning (Prater kick), 13:26.
Den-Decker 20 pass from Manning (Prater kick), 6:57.
Den-J.Thomas 25 pass from Manning (Prater kick), 4:28.
First downs 25 14
Total Net Yards 511 240
Rushes-yards 18-114 26-87
Passing 397 153
Punt Returns 5-21 5-70
Kickoff Returns 4-99 1-22
Interceptions Ret. 2-3 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 32-51-0 18-37-2
Sacked-Yards Lost 1-3 3-23
Punts 6-48.7 8-44.9
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 8-67 4-57
Time of Possession 28:53 31:07
Rushing: Denver, Moreno 11-76, Ball 4-32, Hillman 3-6. Houston, Karim 8-30, D.Johnson 12-29, Grimes 5-23, Schaub 1-5.
Passing: Denver, Manning 32-51-0-400. Houston, Schaub 18-37-2-176.
Receiving: Denver, Decker 10-131, D.Thomas 8-123, J.Thomas 6-78, Tamme 3-22, Moreno 2-26, Caldwell 2-12, Green 1-8. Houston, Griffin 5-66, A.Johnson 4-63, Martin 4-35, D.Johnson 2-1, Hopkins 1-8, G.Jones 1-4, Karim 1-(minus 1).