Broncos' Virgil Green finally gets elusive first TD catch

DENVER -- Just over a month ago it was Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning who vowed to get tight end Virgil Green his first touchdown reception.

Manning felt that Green, who has routinely been asked to roll up his sleeves and do plenty of heavy lifting at the position in the no-frills aspects of the game, deserved a little scoring glory as well.

Following the Broncos’ Nov. 23 win over the Miami Dolphins, Manning went as far as to say; “I’m going to get him that first touchdown pass. I’m going to do it. We’re going to do it. It’s just a matter of time. So we’re on a mission there.’’

Mission accomplished in Sunday’s 47-14 victory over the Oakland Raiders in Sports Authority Field at Mile High as Green, in his 56th regular-season game as a Broncos tight end, caught his first career scoring pass. But it was from Broncos backup quarterback Brock Osweiler.

“Finally, finally,’’ said Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. “I’m happy for my man, I’m so happy about it. ... He deserves it, for everything he does, he just deserves it.’’

Green caught a career-best three passes in Sunday’s win for a career-high 46 yards, all to go with the 1-yard scoring reception with 1 minute, 56 seconds to play in the game. The play brought a big smile to Manning’s face from the sideline and was celebrated plenty by Green’s teammates once he made it into the bench area.

“I’m happy to catch a ball from Brock as well, I don’t care,’’ Green said with a smile. “It makes no difference to me. Whoever wants to throw the ball to me, it works for me.’’

Green, a 6-foot-5, 255-pounder who was in John Elway’s first draft class in 2011, has routinely been the guy blocking at the position. When the Broncos went to a two-tight end set, Green blocked and Julius Thomas caught touchdown passes.

But when Thomas suffered a left ankle injury Nov. 16 against the St. Louis Rams, the Broncos cranked up the run game and that put Green into the lineup more. But as Thomas has struggled to get back to full speed, the Broncos have started to use Green in all situations.

In Sunday’s win he was often the lone tight end in the formation when the Broncos went to a three-wide receiver look, something that used to be Thomas’ domain virtually all of the time. The Broncos also used Green plenty, with reserve tackle Chris Clark as well, in a two-tight end look.

And in the end, in terms of snap count and when, and where, he lines up Green has essentially been the Broncos’ No. 1 tight end in recent weeks. Thomas, who still looks to be favoring the ankle at times, has three receptions combined in the last three games and has been held without a touchdown in those three games.

“I just want to contribute, however they need me,’’ Green said. “I believe in what I can do. If they want me to block, I think I can get it done, if they need me to catch the ball I can do that too. I just want to help.’’