Manning, Colts buck Texans

Posted: Monday, December 13, 2004


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  New Orleans Saints cornerback Mike McKenzie (43) takes down Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Cooper on a pass play in the first quarter Sunday, Dec. 12, 2003. McKenzie was charged with a personal foul for grabbing the facemask. AP Photo/Donna McWilliam

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (18) points down the bench before the start of their game against the Houston Texans Sunday, Dec. 12, 2004 in Houston. Manning threw two touchdown passes in the Colts 23-14 win over the Texans. Manning needs three more touchdown passes to break Dan Marino's NFL single-season touchdown pass record.

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

HOUSTON -- Peyton Manning broke one of Dan Marino's touchdown records, just not the one everybody has been talking about, as Indianapolis clinched its second straight AFC South title with a 23-14 win over the Texans on Sunday.

Manning threw touchdown passes on the first two Colts drives to get within two of Marino's 20-year-old record of 48 in a season. It was his 13th straight multi-TD game, breaking the NFL record held by Marino, Johnny Unitas, Don Meredith and Brett Favre.

The Colts (10-3) didn't get into the end zone again, settling for three field goals by Mike Vanderjagt (30, 43 and 40 yards) in the second half as they won their sixth straight. The next chance for Manning to catch Marino comes at home, next Sunday night against Baltimore.

Domanick Davis had 201 total yards for Houston (5-8). He had 23 carries for 128 yards and a touchdown, and caught six passes for 73 yards.

Patriots 35, Bengals 28

FOXBORO, Mass. -- Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes and the New England defense held off Cincinnati as the Patriots clinched the AFC East with their win and the Jets' loss.

The victory was the 27th in 28 games for the Super Bowl champions (12-1). Asante Samuel had a 34-yard interception return for a touchdown for New England, which forced three turnovers for the day.

Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes for the Bengals (6-7), before leaving with a sprained knee in the third quarter.

Falcons 35, Raiders 10

ATLANTA -- The Falcons clinched just their third division title in franchise history as T.J. Duckett set a team record by rushing for four touchdowns.

Atlanta (10-3), which last won a division title in 1998 on the way to its only Super Bowl, flopped badly in its first chance to win the NFC South, getting beaten 27-0 in Tampa last week.

But they had their way at home against the hapless Raiders, taking control with a 21-point second quarter. Oakland (4-9) had three turnovers, including an interception returned 39 yards for a touchdown by former Raiders defensive tackle Rod Coleman.

Steelers 17, Jets 6

PITTSBURGH -- Jerome Bettis and Curtis Martin went over 13,000 yards rushing, but Bettis will be remembered most for a 10-yard touchdown pass that helped the Steelers clinch the AFC North.

Bettis completed the throw to Jerame Tuman three plays after surpassing the 13,000-yard barrier early in the fourth quarter to break a 3-3 tie. Bettis also ran for a late touchdown -- his career-high 12th this season -- after Ben Roethlisberger's 46-yard completion to Lee Mays. Roethlisberger kept his unprecedented rookie winning streak going, winning his 11th in a row in the NFL and 24th straight the last two seasons, counting his final 13 games at Miami of Ohio. The Steelers tied a franchise record with their 11th successive win.

Chargers 31, Buccaneers 24

SAN DIEGO -- Donnie Edwards intercepted Brian Griese's pass and returned it 30 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 4:09 left as the Chargers won for the seventh straight time.

San Diego (10-3) moved closer to its first playoff berth in nine seasons. The Chargers have won 10 games for the first time since their 1994 Super Bowl season, a huge turnaround from their recent misery of losing at least 10 games five times in the last seven seasons.

Griese threw for 392 yards and three TDs -- two to Joey Galloway -- but was intercepted three times. The Buccaneers (5-8) are guaranteed their second non-winning season since winning the Super Bowl here against Oakland on Jan. 26, 2003.


New Orleans Saints cornerback Mike McKenzie (43) takes down Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Cooper on a pass play in the first quarter Sunday, Dec. 12, 2003. McKenzie was charged with a personal foul for grabbing the facemask.

AP Photo/Donna McWilliam

Saints 27, Cowboys 13

IRVING, Texas -- Deuce McAllister ran for two touchdowns, John Carney kicked two field goals and Joe Horn added a 31-yard touchdown catch as the Saints seriously dampened the Cowboys' wild-card chances.

Dallas (5-8) had won consecutive games, including a thrilling 43-39 victory over Seattle on Monday night, but got little offense after leading 10-0 after the first quarter.

Instead, they lost at home to a team that had lost three straight and was more curious about its coach's status than its playoff possibilities. The Saints (5-8) also wound up with their first road win over the Cowboys in 10 tries.

Seahawks 27, Vikings 23

MINNEAPOLIS -- Michael Boulware intercepted an ill-advised pass by Randy Moss in the end zone just before the 2-minute warning, allowing the Seahawks to hang on for a wild victory.

Matt Hasselbeck's three first-half touchdown passes was enough for Seattle (7-6), which came away with just its fourth win in the last 10 games to help its playoff chances in the diluted NFC.

Minnesota (7-6) lost for the fifth time in seven games and dropped a game behind Green Bay in the NFC North.

Moss, who caught four passes for 104 yards and a touchdown, rolled right in the closing minutes after a handoff from Daunte Culpepper. Near the sideline with a defender closing in, Moss fired into the back of the end zone, where Marcus Robinson was covered by two Seahawks.

Packers 16, Lions 13

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Ryan Longwell's 23-yard field goal lifted the Packers (8-5) into first place in the NFC North over Minnesota. The Packers led for just two seconds -- the time left after Longwell's kick as the Lions (5-8) blew a 13-0 halftime lead.

Longwell's third game-winning field goal in five weeks capped a 10-play, 37-yard drive after the Packers got the ball back at the Detroit 42 with 3:27 left and the wind at their backs.

Gusts up to 35 mph wreaked havoc on passes, punts and long snaps and caused a slew of drops.

Brett Favre completed just 3 of 15 passes for 28 yards in the first half, but he was an amazing 16-of-21 in the swirling winds for 160 yards and a touchdown in the second half.

Panthers 20, Rams 7

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Playing like it did during their run to the Super Bowl last season, Carolina pulled into the thick of the NFC wild-card hunt.

It was the fifth consecutive win for the Panthers (6-7) and moved them into a tie for the final NFC wild-card berth -- unimaginable after they opened 1-7 and lost starter after starter to season-ending injuries. The Rams, who had Chris Chandler at quarterback for the injured Marc Bulger, also are 6-7, a game behind Seattle in the NFC West, but the loss to Carolina means they would lose a head-to-head tiebreaker.

Playing behind a defense that set a franchise record with six interceptions, the Panthers got touchdowns from Muhsin Muhammad and Nick Goings and two field goals from John Kasay.

Broncos 20, Dolphins 17

DENVER -- Backup Tatum Bell ran for 123 yards and Jason Elam kicked a 50-yard field goal with 2:50 left in a strange victory.

Bell replaced fumble-prone Reuben Droughns early in the game and ran for two scores, but left shortly after with a sprained shoulder that could end his season.

Jake Plummer threw for 219 yards and had two interceptions as the Broncos (8-5) kept pace with Baltimore for the AFC's final wild-card spot. Miami fell to 2-11.

Jaguars 22, Bears 3

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Byron Leftwich threw two touchdown passes and the Jacksonville defense constantly harassed Chad Hutchinson and the injury-depleted Bears.

The Jaguars (7-6) ended a three-game losing streak and remained a game back in the crowded AFC wild-card race. The Bears (5-8), with yet another poor offensive outing, were all but eliminated from the muddled NFC postseason picture.

Leftwich finished 25-of-45 for 242 yards.

Ravens 37, Giants 14

BALTIMORE -- Kyle Boller threw a career-high four touchdown passes, and the Ravens forced six turnovers from the Giants and a battered Eli Manning to stay in the thick of the AFC wild-card race.

After two straight losses in which they allowed a combined 39 fourth-quarter points, the Ravens' defense held New York's offense scoreless until late in the game, when the decision was no longer in doubt.

Baltimore (8-5) converted four of the turnovers into 20 points. Manning went 4-for-18 for 27 yards and two interceptions -- a 0.0 quarterback rating.

Bills 37, Browns 7

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Playing for the first time in two months, Troy Vincent had an interception, fumble recovery and sack as the Bills won their fourth straight game and six in their last seven.

Buffalo (7-6) held the blundering Browns to 17 yards on 46 plays, forcing five turnovers and adding eight sacks. Cleveland (3-10) had 2 yards with 9:34 left in the game, flirting with the NFL record of minus-7 yards, set by Seattle in 1979, but managed 15 yards on its final series.

Willis McGahee had 105 yards rushing and scored on 6- and 13-yard runs.

49ers 31, Cardinals 28, OT

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The 49ers blew a 25-point lead, but Todd Peterson's 31-yard field goal in overtime gave them their second win of the season.

It was the exact same score as in the teams' first meeting on Oct. 10, when Arizona blew a 16-point lead late in regulation and lost in overtime on Peterson's 32-yarder. Maurice Hicks, who had 139 yards rushing, set up the winner for San Francisco (2-11) with runs of 7 and 17 yards.

Eagles 17, Redskins 14

LANDOVER, Md. -- The Eagles won their fifth straight and Andy Reid moved past Redskins coach Joe Gibbs into first place in winning percentage among active coaches.

A 10-point third quarter, capped by Dorsey Levens' 1-yard touchdown run, gave the Eagles a 17-7 lead and just enough cushion to withstand a fourth-quarter Redskins comeback.

The Eagles (12-1), who clinched the NFC East two weeks ago, secured a first-round bye earlier Sunday when Atlanta beat Oakland.

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