Tennessee at Indianapolis

Colts overwhelm overmatched Titans, improve to 12-0

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts are making perfection look easier every week.

Now they'll have a chance to keep their historic quest going in the playoffs, too.

With the Triplets in sync and the defense producing another physically dominant performance Sunday, the Tennessee Titans never had a chance as the Colts rolled to a 35-3 victory to clinch a playoff spot and remain the NFL's only unbeaten team.

"Anything that comes along with winning, you accept it," two-time MVP Peyton Manning said.

The Colts are the fifth team in league history to go 12-0, but must wait until next week at Jacksonville for a chance to wrap up their third straight AFC South title and first-round bye in the playoffs.

If the past few games are any indication, that's only a matter of time.

Indianapolis has won seven of its past nine by at least 17 points, averaging more than 35 points. The Colts even routed Tennessee on a day Manning threw only 17 passes, the second-fewest of his NFL career. He threw two passes in last year's season finale at Denver.

But the latest victory epitomized how Indy continues to win -- by overcoming anything opponents try.

On Sunday, the Titans (3-9) wanted to play keep-away. It didn't work.

Manning completed 13 of 17 passes for 187 yards and three touchdowns, giving him a near-perfect passer-rating of 151.2 and extending his NFL record to eight straight seasons with at least 25 TD passes.

Edgerrin James carried 28 times for 107 yards, becoming the third-fastest player in league history to top 9,000 yards. In 93 games, James has rushed for 9,067 yards. Eric Dickerson did it in 82 games; Jim Brown did it in 88.

Marvin Harrison caught four passes for 61 yards and his first reception, a 36-yarder on the Colts' opening drive, made Harrison the 12th player in league history to top 12,000 yards receiving. His 10-yard TD catch on the Colts' opening possession was the 92nd between Manning and Harrison, also extending that duo's NFL record.

If anyone thought Indy would have a letdown after an emotional victory Monday night against Pittsburgh, the Colts' answer was resounding: Not a chance.

They limited the Titans to 40 yards rushing, sacked Steve McNair twice and Billy Volek twice and even knocked McNair out for four plays in the third quarter with a bruised right shin.

"I'm very proud of this team, coming back after Monday night and playing like that, a complete game," coach Tony Dungy said. "We had that focus, we wanted to get in the playoffs."

Now the focus turns to other things such as what the Colts hope will be a run toward history. No team has gone undefeated since the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

And each week, it seems, the Colts are converting skeptics into believers.

"If they continue to stay healthy, with what they do on offense and with the speed they have on defense, they're going to have a chance," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said after losing his sixth straight against the Colts.

The young Titans did little right.

A botched trick play to Adam "Pacman" Jones knocked the Titans out of field goal range and set up the Colts' second score. Fisher gambled by going on fourth down routinely, failing four of five times, and in the waning moments when the Titans were trying to salvage a score, the Colts stopped them at the goal line.

It was that kind of day.

McNair was 22-of-33 for 220 yards, and fumbled when Dwight Freeney sacked him in the fourth quarter. Larry Tripplett grabbed the ball out of the air and went 60 yards for a touchdown.

"If we had played the perfect game, we could have won," said McNair, the NFL's former co-MVP.

But the Colts wouldn't allow it.

Manning connected with Harrison on the Colts' first series for a 7-0 lead, then took advantage of good field position after Rob Bironas pushed a 51-yard field goal wide right. Eventually, Manning hooked up with Bryan Fletcher on a 13-yard TD pass to make it 14-0.

Tennessee's only score came on Bironas' 24-yard field goal with 29 seconds left in the half.

Manning opened the third quarter with a 27-yard TD pass to Reggie Wayne, and James' 2-yard TD run with 1:28 left in the third assured the Colts of one more week of perfection.

"I know how hard it is to win nine games, 10 games, 11 games," Manning said. "To win 12 games is extremely hard, but to win 12 in a row ... You don't have time to pat yourself on the back as a team."

Notes

  • Dungy won his 100th regular-season game.
  • The Colts extended their franchise-record home winning streak to 11 and have now won 20 of their past 21 regular-season games.
  • Kyle Vanden Bosch, who came into the game second in the NFL in sacks, had two wiped out by Tennessee penalties.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney knocks the ball out of Steve McNair's hand ...
 
Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney knocks the ball out of Steve McNair's hand ... (AP)
 

 

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Sun. Dec. 4Final
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7714735
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDMarvin Harrison, 10 Yd pass from Peyton Manning (Mike Vanderjagt kick is good), 8:08. Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards in 3:48.
2ND QUARTER
TDBryan Fletcher, 13 Yd pass from Peyton Manning (Mike Vanderjagt kick is good), 4:11. Drive: 10 plays, 59 yards in 5:41.
FGRob Bironas 24 Yd, 0:29. Drive: 9 plays, 49 yards in 3:42.
3RD QUARTER
TDReggie Wayne, 27 Yd pass from Peyton Manning (Mike Vanderjagt kick is good), 9:40. Drive: 10 plays, 72 yards in 5:20.
TDEdgerrin James, 2 Yd run (Mike Vanderjagt kick is good), 1:28. Drive: 8 plays, 68 yards in 4:09.
4TH QUARTER
TDLarry Tripplett, 60 Yd fumble return (Mike Vanderjagt kick is good), 11:44.
Players of the Game
Denver

P. Manning
Att 17
Comp 13
Yds 187
TD 3

S. McNair
Att 33
Comp 22
Yds 220
TD 0
 
Tennessee
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
S. McNair22/3322000
B. Volek4/63000
RushingATTYDSTDLG
C. Brown1132010
T. Henry61806
S. McNair2303
P. Jones1-130-13
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
B. Troupe567023
B. Scaife653014
D. Bennett63709
R. Williams234018
T. Calico226014
T. Henry218013
C. Brown1606
T. Fleming1505
E. Kinney1404
Indianapolis
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
P. Manning13/1718730
RushingATTYDSTDLG
E. James28107122
P. Manning2-100
J. Sorgi1-10-1
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
M. Harrison461136
R. Wayne350127
D. Clark237022
B. Fletcher222113
E. James217010
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
SEA 42 Final
PHI 0
OAK 10 Final
SD 34
NYJ 3 Final
NE 16
DEN 27 Final
KC 31
JAC 20 Final
CLE 14
ARI 17 Final
SF 10
WAS 24 Final
STL 9
CIN 38 Final
PIT 31
DAL 10 Final
NYG 17
TB 10 Final
NO 3
BUF 23 Final
MIA 24
MIN 21 Final
DET 16
GB 7 Final
CHI 19
ATL 6 Final
CAR 24
HOU 15 Final
BAL 16