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Peyton Manning and the Broncos put up 52 points on the Eagles, the most any team has scored against the franchise in 41 years. (AP)
DENVER – When you’ve managed to make even Peyton Manning look better than usual, you know you’ve been truly awful.
“Despite the fact that he’s good, we still played terrible,” Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin said “It was embarrassing.”
Manning continued his record pace Sunday, this time at the expense of an Eagles’ defense that’s pretty close to a record pace of its own.
Manning completed 28 of 34 passes and torched the beleaguered Eagles’ defense for 327 yards and four touchdowns Sunday afternoon in the Broncos’ 52-20 win at Sports Authority Field at Mile High (see Instant Replay).
In the second half, Manning completed 15 of 16 passes for 159 yards, with three TDs.
“It sucks,” Boykin said. “We work eight to 12 hours a day, six days a week for this. For this very moment.
“When you don’t do what you want to do, it’s not a good feeling. You can ask any player. We demand more of ourselves as a whole team. Special teams, offense, defense. It wasn’t good.
“We played terrible.”
Manning? He’s got an NFL-record 16 touchdowns and no interceptions through four games.
On Sunday, he became the sixth quarterback in NFL history to complete at least 82 percent of his passes, pass for 320 or more yards and throw four or more touchdowns with no interceptions.
“He’s going to try to find those matchups that are favorable to him, and unfortunately for us, he found them,” cornerback Cary Williams said.
“We were hoping he’d be a little bit off today, but he wasn’t.”
The Eagles’ defense? It's allowed 1,787 yards, eighth-most in NFL history after four games. That includes 1,300 net passing yards, seventh-most in NFL history.
Opposing quarterbacks have completed an astonishing 70.2 percent of their passes against the Eagles, and three of them – Robert Griffin III, Philip Rivers and Manning – have thrown for at least 320 yards.
During Jim Johnson’s 10 years as defensive coordinator – 160 games from 1999 through 2008 – only eight quarterbacks threw for 320 yards against the Eagles.
Three have done it in the last 21 days.
The game has changed a bit, but still … the Eagles haven’t stopped anybody.
“We had a couple nice stops in the first half, but we didn’t get our defense executed in the second half,” defensive coordinator Billy Davis said.
“We ran into a pretty good buzzsaw today. We threw everything we had at him today. He out-executed us. We gave him everything we had, but he was just better than us today. We weren’t good enough today.”
During the Eagles’ three-game losing streak, Rivers, Alex Smith and Manning have completed all but 28 of their 116 pass attempts.
With nine touchdown passes and no interceptions.
Shades of 2012.
In their last 18 games, the Eagles have given up 41 passing touchdowns and intercepted six passes.
Only 38 of Denver’s points came against the Eagles’ defense, but the 52 points are the most in Broncos history and the most the Eagles have allowed since 1972.
“This is a great team and they’re capable of putting up 50 points on anybody, but offense, defense and special teams, we definitely didn’t play our best in any of those areas,” Williams said.
“They made more plays than we were able to, and that’s why they threw the 50-spot on us.”
The Eagles forced a couple punts in the first half and gave up only 14 points on defense before halftime. But Manning engineered third-quarter drives of 80, 80 and 65 yards in the third quarter without facing a single third down.
“Our different looks were working in the first half,” linebacker Connor Barwin said. “But the guy’s good at what he does, and he kind of figured it out in the third quarter and made some plays on us.”
Denver’s 21 points are the most the Eagles have allowed in a third quarter in 28 years and matched the most they’ve allowed in 46 years.
“We have to get better and everything about the defense has to improve,” Davis said. “At the end of the day, we just have to go back to work and keep grinding it out until it turns for us.”
Do the Eagles have enough talent to win?
They’ve got defensive ends playing linebacker, some veteran castoffs and youngsters in the secondary and a largely inexperienced defensive front. And some promising players who just aren’t producing.
“We have enough talent, we just have to keep getting better,” Davis said. “We have a lot of season left, a lot of football left.
“Today’s a tough one to swallow. We got whipped. We’ve got to take it like pros and move on. We have to get better one week at a time.
“We’ve got to grow it together, build it together and work at it until we’re playing at the level we want to play it. And right now, we’re far from that.”