Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker pulls in a touchdown pass as Baltimore Ravens cornerback Cary Williams looks on during the second half of an NFL football game in Baltimore, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)The Associated Press
Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker, left, is knocked out of bounds just short of a touchdown by Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith during the first half of an NFL football game in Baltimore, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)The Associated Press
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Eric Decker was the first of Peyton Manning's workout buddies, sneaking onto high school football fields in the spring to work on his rhythm and rapport with his new quarterback.
The sessions helped Manning regain his arm strength and rediscover his old form after a series of neck operations that sidelined him all of last season and led to his departure from Indianapolis.
They were just as helpful for Decker, who was recovering from a sprained left knee he hurt in the playoffs.
All those hours together are paying off now.
Decker leads the Denver Broncos (11-3) with nine touchdown grabs and he's 77 yards shy of joining fellow third-year receiver Demaryius Thomas with his first 1,000-yard season. No Denver duo has accomplished that feat since 2004.