Atlanta at Indianapolis

Manning nearly perfect as Colts hammer Falcons

SportsLine.com wire reports
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Peyton Manning showed he was ready for the playoffs Sunday.

The Indianapolis Colts now have two weeks to fine-tune their explosive offense.

Manning threw for 290 yards and five touchdowns, Edgerrin James ran for 126 yards and the defense manhandled Michael Vick in a 38-7 win over the Atlanta Falcons to clinch a playoff spot.

"That was the goal coming in here, to get into the playoffs," Manning said. "We need to keep it going the next two weeks."

The Colts (11-3) couldn't have asked for more from Manning, who has now led Indianapolis to four playoff appearances in five years but has been dogged by an 0-3 postseason record.

With Tennessee's 28-26 win over Buffalo on Sunday, the Colts will have to wait another week for a chance to clinch their first division title since 1999. One more win, or a Titans loss, gives Indianapolis the AFC South title.

A handful of fans hung around to watch the end the Bills-Titans game on the big screen TVs inside the stadium, cheering when Buffalo scored a last-minute touchdown and moaning when the Bills failed on a potential tying 2-point conversion.

But it hardly mattered.

The Colts played one of their best all-around games this season and Manning turned in another MVP-like performance before leaving at the start of the fourth quarter.

He completed 25 of 30 passes, became the first Colts quarterback to throw for five TDs in a game twice in a season and the first NFL player to achieve that since Buffalo's Jim Kelly in 1991. Only three other players -- Houston's Warren Moon in 1990, Miami's Dan Marino in 1986 and San Diego's Dan Fouts in 1982 -- have done that since the merger in 1970.

Manning also broke the NFL record for most consecutive seasons with 25 touchdown passes (six). The record of five was set by Marino in the 1980s and was tied by Green Bay's Brett Favre in the 1990s.

"I'm starting to get numb to those," coach Tony Dungy said. "He was very sharp all week in practice and he's been very, very hot the last month or so."

Atlanta (3-11) looked like a team reeling from a midweek coaching change.

In Wade Phillips' first game as interim coach, Vick was sacked four times and the Falcons' offense did almost nothing. They couldn't run until the outcome was already decided, couldn't throw and Vick was hit a number of times before being pulled in the fourth quarter.

"My worst fears came to being," Phillips said. "Coach (Dan Reeves) gets fired in the middle of the week and there's a letdown."

Part of the problem was Vick's ineffectiveness.

He was just 2-of-12 for 25 yards with a passer rating of 4.9 in the first half when the Falcons were outgained 302-28. He finished 6-of-19 for 47 yards with four carries for 30 yards.

"It's the worst game I ever had," Vick said. "Why? I don't know."

The Colts, meanwhile, played almost flawlessly.

James and wide receiver Marvin Harrison each topped the 100-yard mark in the first half. James went over the 1,000-yard mark for the first time since having knee surgery in November 2001, while Harrison finished with 117 yards and two touchdowns.

Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Brandon Stokley each had seven catches. Stokley caught his first two TDs with the Colts and Wayne added one TD.

They never gave Atlanta a chance.

Vick was sacked on two of the Falcons' first four plays, fumbling on the second sack to set up the Colts at the Atlanta 14.

Manning found Wayne on the Colts' first play to make it 7-0.

Two series later, Manning led the Colts 49 yards, hooking up with Stokley on a 4-yard TD and the rout was on.

Things got worse before the half ended.

Mike Vanderjagt's 43-yard field goal early in the second quarter put him within two of the NFL record for most consecutive field goals, and then Manning hit Harrison on a 17-yard TD pass to make it 24-0 at the half.

Manning hooked up with Stokley again early in the third quarter and the Falcons avoided a shutout when T.J. Duckett burst 17 yards for a touchdown with 4:57 left in the third quarter.

"It's important to play at a high level late in the season and going into the playoffs," Manning said. "Hopefully, we can keep this kind of momentum going the next two weeks."

Notes

  • James' 43-yard run in the second quarter was his longest since 1999, his rookie season.
  • Atlanta is 1-12 against the Colts.
  • Duckett broke the Falcons' franchise record by scoring a touchdown in his seventh straight game.
  • Atlanta defensive end Brady Smith hyperextended his elbow and did not return.
  • Indianapolis offensive lineman Adam Meadows left with a sprained right knee. Meadows replaced Steve Sciullo at guard in the starting lineup and did not return.
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Peyton Manning has some words with Michael Vick after the Colts' victory over Vick's Falcons.
Peyton Manning has some words with Michael Vick after the Colts' victory over Vick's Falcons. (AP)

 

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QTR,
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Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDReggie Wayne, 14 Yd pass from Peyton Manning (Mike Vanderjagt kick is good), 13:22. Drive: 1 play, 14 yards in 0:05.
TDBrandon Stokley, 4 Yd pass from Peyton Manning (Mike Vanderjagt kick is good), 1:45. Drive: 7 plays, 49 yards in 4:08.
2ND QUARTER
FGMike Vanderjagt 43 Yd, 10:09. Drive: 8 plays, 59 yards in 3:41.
TDMarvin Harrison, 17 Yd pass from Peyton Manning (Mike Vanderjagt kick is good), 2:40. Drive: 7 plays, 80 yards in 3:10.
3RD QUARTER
TDBrandon Stokley, 37 Yd pass from Peyton Manning (Mike Vanderjagt kick is good), 12:51. Drive: 5 plays, 60 yards in 2:09.
TDT.J. Duckett, 17 Yd run (Jay Feely kick is good), 4:57. Drive: 6 plays, 41 yards in 1:58.
TDMarvin Harrison, 16 Yd pass from Peyton Manning (Mike Vanderjagt kick is good), 2:35. Drive: 5 plays, 80 yards in 2:22.
4TH QUARTER
None
Atlanta
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
M. Vick6/194701
D. Johnson3/61900
RushingATTYDSTDLG
T. Duckett1874117
M. Vick430016
G. Layne115015
J. Griffith1909
D. Johnson1-10-1
P. Price1-20-2
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
B. Finneran338014
P. Price117017
T. Duckett1606
G. Layne1303
A. Crumpler2202
B. Kozlowski1000
Indianapolis
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
P. Manning25/3029050
B. Huard1/1900
RushingATTYDSTDLG
E. James20126043
D. Rhodes945025
B. Huard1909
R. Williams1-20-2
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
M. Harrison7117232
B. Stokley795237
R. Wayne757114
M. Pollard32409
E. James2604
Complete Player Stats