Sept 5 (Reuters) - The new NFL season got off to a stuttering start but Peyton Manning was firing on all cylinders, tossing a career best seven touchdowns to lead the Denver Broncos to a 49-27 rout of the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens on Thursday.
The opening kickoff was delayed 33 minutes because of lightning in the Denver area but it could not prevent the Broncos from gaining emphatic revenge for a double overtime loss to the Ravens in last season's divisional playoff clash.
The Broncos showed why they are tipped as favourites to replace the Ravens as Super Bowl champions.
Manning shredded the Ravens defense by completing 27-of-42 pass attempts for 462 yards and became the first player since Joe Kapp in 1969 to throw seven touchdowns.
Wes Welker, Tom Brady's favourite target before moving from New England to the Broncos, looks set to become Manning's go-to-guy as well and hauled in nine passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns.
Demaryius Thomas and tightend Julius Thomas both had over 100 yards receiving and a pair of touchdown catches.
A fourth round pick in the 2011 draft, Thomas's career statistics coming into the opener were one catch for five yards. Andre Caldwell scored the other Denver touchdown. (Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, editing by Nick Mulvenney)