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Mile High Sports
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Broncos 31, Buccaneers 23 … by the numbers

DENVER – Numbers and notes in the wake of the Broncos’ 31-23 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High here Sunday:

7: Length of the Broncos’ current winning streak, the longest for the Broncos since the first 13 regular-season games of 1998, en route to a 14-2 finish and a world championship at the expense of the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII.

8: Number of winning streaks of at least seven games led by Peyton Manning, all since the Broncos’ last previous run of seven-plus games. The first seven such streaks for Manning were, of course, with the Indianapolis Colts.

5: Number of seasons that had passed without a winning Broncos record until Sunday, when they clinched no worse than a 9-7 finish. The five-year .500-or-worse run was the Broncos’ longest since 1960-72.

3: Manning’s touchdown pass tally Sunday, marking the seventh time in the Broncos’ last nine games in which he’s thrown exactly three touchdown passes. If he maintains his pace in that span, he’ll hit 40 touchdown passes by the end of the season. That would not only shatter the old franchise record of 27 — which he passed in the third quarter Sunday — but it would be the second-highest total of his career and the ninth-best all-time.

8: Number of games in which the Broncos have scored at least 30 points. Only six other teams in NFL history had more 30-plus games in the first dozen outings of the season, a group that includes the 1998 Broncos (nine of them) and the 2004 Colts (nine), which was the year when Manning set the league’s all-time touchdown pass record, a mark since broken by New England’s Tom Brady.

If the Broncos can score at least 30 points three more times this season, they will break the franchise record of 10 30-plus games, set in 1998 and 2000. That would also be the third-most 30-plus games in a year; only the 1999 Rams, 2007 Patriots and 2011 Patriots hit or surpassed 30 points a dozen times in the regular season.

20-1: Denver’s record since December 2007 after scoring at least 30 points. The only loss with 30-plus in that span came against St. Louis on Nov. 28, 2010, a 36-33 defeat that was the next-to-last game of Josh McDaniels’ tenure.

5: Missed field-goal attempts by Matt Prater in the Broncos’ last four games, which has dropped his percentage to 77.3. His previous low percentage, 73.5, was in his first full season as Denver’s placekicker (2008).

4: Interception returns for touchdowns by the Broncos this year, placing them just one away from matching the club record of five, set in 1997 and 2000.

25: Years that had passed between the Broncos’ last back-to-back AFC West titles and Sunday. Denver won the division in 1986 and 1987, and then won it again in 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998 and 2005 before winning it the last two years.

4-0: The Broncos’ record during the third quarter of the season — the same as their mark during the third quarter of last season. They followed that by going 1-3 in the last four games of the 2011 campaign, then improved to 2-2 in the first quarter of this season, followed by 3-1 in the second quarter and on to 4-0 most recently.

7: Consecutive games in which Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin had either 100 yards from scrimmage or at least one touchdown — a streak that ended Sunday when the Broncos held him to 98 yards on 21 touches (56 yards on 18 carries; 42 yards on three receptions) without a score.

1: Touchdowns scored by Von Miller as a pro after his 26-yard interception return Sunday. Miller is the only player in the league this year with more than 10 sacks (he has 15, third in the league behind San Francisco’s Aldon Smith and Houston’s J.J. Watt), at least one forced fumble (he has five) and at least one interception.

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