Nine days isn't a long time. Demaryius Thomas' talent confuses the clock. On Thursday, with five fewer practices than his teammates, Thomas converted three first downs and created mismatches on every snap.

It was easy to forget that Thomas, a 6-foot-4, 223-pound hulk with a shortstop's hands and feet, buried his beloved grandmother Gladys a little more than a week earlier. Thomas continues to mourn, while not losing focus. It hasn't been easy.

"It still bothers me a bit," Thomas said. "The routine of work, of being around these teammates, these coaches, really helps."

Thomas ranks as one of the league's best receivers because he prepares like he's white-knuckling a roster spot. Against the Seattle Seahawks, who spent more time Thursday taunting and pushing than mauling, Thomas excelled, catching a team-best five passes for 52 yards.

He changed the shape of the game, yet insists he's not in top condition, still playing catch-up from his absence.

"I worked out a little bit (in Georgia), but it's not the same. It's hard because I was with family most of the time," said Thomas, whose grandmother died after a brave battle with Alzheimer's disease. "In the game, I didn't know if I was ready. But I knew I was capable of going out and doing my job. I wasn't at my best. I didn't know if Peyton (Manning) was going to look my way that much. I did miss a week, and I wasn't all the way back."

Offensive coordinator Adam Gase predicted Thomas would excel. Even if Thomas was slightly compromised physically, he held a mental edge, given his knowledge of the offense.