Colts' Manning all business in preseason victory over Broncos

Posted: Tuesday, August 26, 2003

DENVER Preseason or not, Peyton Manning wasn't holding anything back.

Manning had two touchdown passes in the first half, then threw a key block to set up another score as the Indianapolis Colts beat the Denver Broncos 28-23 Monday night.

Recent injuries to quarterbacks Michael Vick and Chad Pennington had some bemoaning that the preseason is too long, but Manning played as if it was a playoff game.

He threw touchdown passes to Dallas Clark and Brian Allen in the first half, then was the lead blocker on a 16-yard double reverse by Marvin Harrison on the Colts' first drive of the third quarter.

Manning got in several good shots on Denver cornerback Kelly Herndon on the reverse before walking back to the huddle with a big smile on his face.

Allen scored on a 4-yard run six plays later, stiff-arming Sam Brandon at the line to put the Colts (2-1) up 21-13 with 4:49 left in the third quarter.

Manning finished 14-for-22 for 150 yards.

Denver quarterback Jake Plummer didn't get off to quite the start he was hoping for in his first home game with the Broncos. He even got booed.

Plummer fumbled his first snap, threw a pass that Colts linebacker Gary Brackett should have intercepted, and missed a wide-open Ed McCaffrey on what would have been an 18-yard touchdown. And that was just on the first drive.

He was much better on Denver's second drive, thanks to Ashley Lelie.

Plummer rolled out on the first play of the series, thought about running, then pulled up for a pass at the last second.

Lelie adjusted to the slightly underthrown ball and made a leaping grab over Mike Doss for a 55-yard touchdown.

But that was about it for Plummer.

He dropped another snap in the second quarter, then was booed after Anthony Floyd intercepted his overthrown pass on Denver's first drive of the third period.

Plummer was 15-for-22 for 205 yards before being replaced by Steve Beuerlein midway through the third quarter.

The Colts sputtered early before getting things going late in the first quarter. After managing just 27 yards on its first two drives, Indianapolis moved 66 yards in nine plays for its first score. Manning capped the drive with a 14-yard pass to Clark, who was wide open after no one covered the middle for the Broncos (2-1).

The Colts didn't take long to score again.

Allen took a screen pass from Manning on the third play of the next drive, got a key block from guard Rick Demulling and turned it into a 53-yard touchdown.

Demulling took out safety Kenoy Kennedy near the 20-yard line, and Allen leaped over the corner pylon from about four yards out to put the Colts up 14-10.

Indianapolis' Jim Kubiak hit Aaron Moorehead on a 9-yard touchdown pass with 2:38 left. Denver cut the lead to 28-23 on a 5-yard pass from Danny Kanell to Dwayne Carswell with 40 seconds left, but the Colts recovered the ensuing on-side kick.

Notes: Indianapolis backup QB Brock Huard missed his third straight game with a broken index finger on his throwing hand. ... The teams will play again Dec. 21 in Indianapolis. ... Denver LT Ephraim Salaam played in the preseason for the first time after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Aug. 1. ... Denver's Jason Elam hit field goals of 36, 39 and 42 yards.



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