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Is Peyton Manning the greatest quarterback who has ever played?

He just may have put together the greatest regular season a quarterback has ever had after he broke Tom Brady's single-season touchdown passing record Sunday while leading the Broncos to a 37-13 victory against the spunky but woefully slumping Houston Texans.

Before a Reliant Stadium gathering of 71,761, Manning threw for an even 400 yards and four touchdowns — but it's his 51 touchdown passes and 5,211 passing yards for the season that will stir discussions about his place among the quarterback greats.

Manning entered the game with 47 touchdown passes, but connected with Demaryius Thomas for a 36-yard strike on the first play of the second quarter, added two more to Eric Decker in the fourth quarter, then was mobbed on the field by his teammates after he set the record with a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Julius Thomas.

Manning is also is only 265 passing yards shy of Drew Brees' record set in 2011.

To Manning, the game was a coronation of sorts to his brilliant 16-year career. To the Broncos, it meant rest for the battered and bruised.

The victory improved their record to 12-3. Coupled with the Kansas City Chiefs' home loss Sunday to the Indianapolis Colts, the Broncos clinched their third consecutive AFC West title and a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Guaranteed the No. 2 AFC seed, the Broncos' can clinch the No. 1 spot if they win next week at Oakland, or if New England loses one of its final two games.