NEW ORLEANS -- Peyton Manning visited his
hometown Sunday night and humiliated his dad's old team.
"It was fun. Anytime you throw six, sure that's fun," said Manning, who entered with a season total of three TDs. "It was just good execution. We were executing well even when we got stopped."
That wasn't too often.
The Colts -- 4-0 for the first time in seven seasons -- piled on the most points the Saints have allowed since a 62-7 loss to Atlanta in 1973.
"We didn't play well," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "That's all there was to it."
Manning went 20-of-25 for 314 yards, with TD tosses that covered 17, 14, 79, 12, 32 and 11 yards -- all in three quarters.
Marvin Harrison caught six passes for 158 yards and three of the TDs.
With his father, Archie, watching in the stands, Manning fell just short of the NFL record for most touchdown passes in a game -- seven, shared by five players: Sid Luckman, Adrian Burk, George Blanda, Y.A. Tittle and Joe Kapp.
Manning is the first quarterback to throw six in a game since Mark Rypien did it for the Washington Redskins against Atlanta on Nov. 10, 1991.
Manning was typically modest after his impressive outing.
"I got good protection. The guys were open," he said. "I know that's boring, but I don't take it for granted. It was our night."
He grew up attending games in the Superdome and cheering for the Saints. Archie Manning is the only New Orleans quarterback to go to the Pro Bowl.
How dominant was Indianapolis on both sides of the ball? It took a 14-0 lead before the Saints (1-3) had a single first down.
The Saints, already down five defensive starters, lost two more Sunday. Cornerback Tebucky Jones and defensive end Kenny Smith are out indefinitely with knee injuries, while returner Michael Lewis also left the game with a groin injury.
On the second play of the game, Saints wide receiver Donte' Stallworth batted a pass into the air, and then into Jim Nelson's hands. Three plays later, Manning hit Ricky Williams for a 17-yard touchdown pass to put Indianapolis up 7-0.
On the Colts' second possession, Manning hit Harrison for a 14-yard score to go up 14-0.
In the second quarter, the Saints bit on a play-action fake and Manning found Harrison again. The pass covered 18 yards in the air, and Harrison outran everyone for another 61 yards to make it 21-0.
"Once we got momentum, it was like a shark in the water, and we kept going," Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "We didn't feel like we were going to score 55 coming in."
Indianapolis hadn't scored so many since a 55-23 victory over Denver in 1988.
Then the Saints scored their first touchdown, a 1-yard run by McAllister, to make it 24-10 at halftime.
Indianapolis opened the second half with a 42-yard Vanderjagt field goal. Then Brooks was sacked and fumbled, and Manning threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Dominic Rhodes to put the Colts up 34-10 with 8½ minutes left in the third quarter.
Carney's 43-yard field goal made it 34-13. Manning added a 32-yarder to Harrison and an 11-yarder to Dallas Clark putting Indianapolis up 48-13 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Brooks was sacked and fumbled. Dwight Freeney picked up the ball and ran 19 yards for a touchdown that made it 55-13.
By then, though, the outcome was not in doubt, and Brock Huard finished up for the Colts. It was the first time since the 2001 season that someone other than Manning threw a pass for the team.
- The Colts last beat New Orleans on Sept. 30, 1973.
- Harrison had only one TD catch this season entering Sunday.
The Associated Press News Service
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