DENVER — A dinged-up right thumb wasn't enough to throw Peyton Manning off his game, and to no one's surprise, neither was the Saints defense.
Despite banging his throwing thumb on an opponent's helmet in the second quarter Sunday night, Manning passed for 305 yards and three scores, led two 90-plus-yard touchdown drives and easily outplayed Drew Brees to lead Denver to a 34-14 victory.
Manning surpassed 300 yards passing for the fifth straight time to match his personal best and set a franchise record for Denver. Willis McGahee ran for 122 yards and a score for the Broncos, who won two in a row for the first time this season and took sole possession of first place in the AFC West.
The Broncos, who have scored at least 30 points in all four of their wins, gained 530 yards — a season high against the NFL's worst defense. The Saints came in allowing more yards (2,793) over the first six games of a season than any team since 1950.
New Orleans lost in the return of linebackers-turned-interim head coach Joe Vitt from his six-game suspension for the team's bounty scandal. The Broncos held Brees and the league's top passing offense to 213 yards, and linebacker Wesley Woodyard had 13 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and one interception.