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9 biggest games in Demaryius Thomas' career

One guess as to No. 1. D.T.'s second-best game comes with a melancholy note.

DENVER — There were so many big games by Demaryius Thomas – even if most were bunched in the 2013 and 2014 seasons – that it wasn’t easy coming up with his top 9.

Counting the postseason, D.T. had nine games of at least 10 catches, an incredible 36 games of at least 100 yards receiving and 11 games of at least two touchdowns.

In memoriam of Demaryius, who was unexpectantly found dead Thursday evening, here are the top 9 games in his 9 seasons with the Broncos:

9. Game: Super Bowl XLVIII, 2013 season, lost to Seattle, 43-8, MetLife Stadium

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) is hit by Seattle Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell (41) as he makes a touchdown catch during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

D.T.: 13 catches, 118 yards, 1 TD

The only game on this list in which the Broncos lost. It was a terrible, nightmare for the Broncos but Thomas’ 13 catches set a Super Bowl record. (Later broke by Patriots’ running back James White, who had 14 catches against Atlanta in Super Bowl 51). Afterwards, Demaryius said he’d rather have no catches and win the Super Bowl than a record 13 catches in a Super Bowl loss. That request almost came true two years later when he had just one catch for 8 yards in the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 win.

8. The game: Nov. 1, 2015, beat Green Bay, 29-10, Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Credit: AP
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) greets Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) after an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, in Denver. The Broncos won 29-10 to improve to 7-0. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

D.T.: 8 catches, 168 yards, 0 TD

This was the last time Demaryius had at least 125 yards receiving in victory. This game was significant for other reasons. The Denver D established itself as generational dominant by holding Aaron Rodgers to just 77 yards passing while sacking him three times. Peyton Manning threw for 340 yards – the last 300-yard game and last regular-season win of his career. And the Broncos moved to 7-0.

D.T. didn’t score a touchdown but his 30-yard reception set up first-and-goal and the Broncos’ first touchdown in the first quarter and his 47-yard catch on the first play of the second quarter set up their second touchdown for a 14-0 lead. He later added a 24-yard reception that set up a short Brandon McManus field goal.

7. The game: Nov. 23, 2014, beat Miami, 39-36, Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) celebrates his touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

D.T.: 10 catches, 87 yards, 3 TDs

Demaryius was not only a big-play receiver, he could use his big body to post up and play possession receiver. His touchdown catches were of 5, 14 and 5 yards. The Broncos were in trouble in this game, trailing 28-17 entering the fourth quarter. Thomas’ third touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter starting the comeback.

6. The game: Nov. 10, 2013, beat Chargers, 28-20, Qualcomm Stadium

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) reaches out for a pass between San Diego Chargers cornerback Shareece Wright (29) and free safety Eric Weddle (32) during the third quarter of an NFL football game , Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

D.T.: 7 catches, 108 yards, 3 TDs

It was 7-6 midway through the second quarter and then Demaryius, the great finisher, capped three consecutive drives with touchdowns of 11, 7 and 34 yards. Suddenly it was 28-6 Broncos.

5. The game: Sept. 5, 2013, beat Ravens, 49-27, Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Credit: AP
Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith breaks up a pass intended for Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

D.T.: 5 catches, 161 yards, 2 TDs

Demaryius caught two of Peyton Manning’s 7 touchdown passes, on his way to an NFL-record 55 for the season. That record still stands an even with the expansion to a 17-game schedule no one is on pace to break it this year. Thomas broke the game open with a 78-yard screen and go touchdown to finish the scoring.

4. The game: Oct. 19, 2014, beat San Francisco, 42-17, Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, right, scores a touchdown as San Francisco 49ers strong safety Antoine Bethea (41) and Perrish Cox defend during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

D.T.: 8 catches, 171 yards, 2 TDs

Fittingly, Peyton Manning broke Brett Favre’s career touchdown pass record by throwing the No. 508-tying touchdown to Demaryius on an 8-yard pass late in the first half, then the 509-record-breaking score to Demaryius on a beautifully launched 40-yard strike early in the third quarter. Afterwards, the Broncos’ receiver trio of Demaryius, Emmanuel Sanders and Wes Welker engaged in a Peyton-scripted, keep-the-milestone-ball-away skit from Manning.

3. The game: Dec. 4, 2011, beat Vikings 35-32, Metrodome

Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Minnesota Vikings' Cedric Griffin (23) breaks up a pass intended for Denver Broncos' Demaryius Thomas during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

D.T.: 4 catches, 144 yards, 2 TDs

All in the second half. After a rough start to his career because of injuries, this was Demaryius’ breakout game. The offense had 0 points, 1 first down and allowed 2 points on a first-play safety in the first half. D.T.’s receptions from Tim Tebow in succession: 21 yards and a touchdown (third quarter); 41 yards and a touchdown (3rd QTR); 42 yards to set up a touchdown (4Q); 40 yards to set up a field goal (4Q).

2. The game: Oct. 5, 2014, beat Arizona, 41-20, Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) runs as Arizona Cardinals cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) pursues during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

D.T.: 8 catches, 226 yards, 2 TDs

Poignantly, this was the game D.T. texted Manning about two days before he was found dead in the bathroom shower of his Georgia home. D.T. had been battling drops through the Broncos’ first three games of the 2014 season but he bounced back in a huge way. Not only were his 226 receiving yards a team record, he had a 77-yard touchdown reception nullified by a chop-block penalty against tight end Julius Thomas. Demaryius’ touchdowns of 31 and 86 yards featured his specialty – yards after the catch.

1. The game: AFC first-round playoff, 2011 season, beat Pittsburgh, 29-23, OT, Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Credit: AP Photo/Joe Mahoney
Demaryius Thomas crosses the goal line for a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers to win the game in overtime of an NFL wild card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, in Denver.

D.T.: 4 catches, 204 yards, 1 TD

50.5 yards per catch. Seriously? Besides his memorable 80-yard walk-off touchdown reception from Tebow on the first play of overtime -- arguably the most enthralling single play in Broncos history -- Thomas caught passes of 51 and 58 yards in the second quarter to set up the Broncos’ first two touchdowns. He also drew two pass interference/defensive holding penalties.

RELATED: 'He was a genuine human': Fans share memories of meeting Demaryius Thomas

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