ATLANTA -- Jim Sorgi proved he can help the Indianapolis Colts convert third downs.
Now the next goal for Peyton Manning's backup: Lead Indianapolis on a touchdown drive.
"It's great to have long drives," Sorgi said. "We had one where we started inside the 15-yard line and drove all the way down to the 5, but we have to put it in. We'll figure it out and put some points on the board next week."
Sorgi was glad he could ease some concerns at quarterback while Indianapolis waits on a timetable for Manning, the former NFL and Super Bowl MVP who's recovering from knee surgery.
The Colts' 16-9 preseason win Saturday night had an opposite effect on the Atlanta Falcons' quarterback situation.
Atlanta rookie Matt Ryan and journeyman Chris Redman both struggled enough to make the Falcons wonder who will run their offense in 2008.
"We've got to get better," Atlanta coach Mike Smith said. "When you've got a chance to convert and score, you have to do it but my hat's off to the Colts."
For Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy, Sorgi eased concerns after a fumble and interception last week at Carolina led to early scores in the Colts' exhibition loss.
This time, Sorgi completed 7 of 12 passes for 67 yards on two possessions. His first drive stalled when Sorgi threw into double coverage and out of the reach of tight end Dallas Clark. The next possession, covering 85 yards in 17 plays, lasted 8:30 after Adam Vinatieri's 24-yard field goal cut the Falcons' lead to 6-3.
In three preseason starts, however, Sorgi still hasn't led the offense into the end zone.
"We are moving the ball," Dungy said. "We are making first downs. We haven't had a lot of big plays."
Atlanta's hopes that Ryan, the NFL's No. 3 overall draft pick, would improve on an impressive debut last week were dashed late in the second quarter.
After entering in the second quarter, Ryan misjudged the tight coverage of Kelvin Hayden, who easily jumped the route for an interception he returned for a 67-yard touchdown.
"Matt did not play as well as he did last week," Smith said. "But like we've said, it's a maturation process. Am I surprised by it? Not really. Going from college to the NFL is the steepest learning curve in football."
Hayden's score gave Indianapolis a 10-6 lead it never relinquished and helped the Colts (1-2) realize they can win without Manning, who has never missed a regular season start in his 10-year career. Safety Bob Sanders, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, also sat as he recovers from shoulder surgery.
Ryan, who completed 9 of 15 attempts for 113 yards and a touchdown at Jacksonville, finished with a 33.9 passer rating that was 71.8 lower than his performance last week.
The Falcons (0-2) earned little momentum from running back Michael Turner's big gains in the first quarter. Turner, a major acquisition in free agency, broke off a 52-yard run to the Colts 26 on the game's first play from scrimmage.
Indianapolis stopped him for no gain and minus-2 yards on consecutive plays from the 5, however, and Atlanta settled for a 25-yard field goal from Jason Elam.
"We can't have spurts where we play well here and there," Turner said. "We have to put it all together at one time."
On the first snap of the Falcons' next possession, Turner ran 63 yards to the 22. Joey Harrington, who started for Atlanta, was nearly picked off on the next play, throwing methodically to Roddy White on a pass that Marlin Jackson nearly intercepted on the left side.
Two plays later, Elam's 35-yard field goal made it 6-0.
Turner's long runs didn't sit well with Indianapolis linebacker Gary Brackett.
"Obviously, we're still making mistakes," Brackett said. "The problems we faced can all be corrected. If get a little more experience, we'll be fine."
Elam added a 40-yard field goal in the third to cut Indy's lead to 10-9.
Adam Crossert, Vinatieri's backup, kicked a 20-yarder in the third and another field goal late in the fourth.
Redman and D.J. Shockley each threw interceptions in the fourth quarter for Atlanta.
Falcons LB Michael Boley didn't return after sustaining a back injury in the second quarter. ... DE John Abraham (ankle) and cornerback Chris Houston (shoulder) didn't dress for Atlanta. ... The teams were a combined 0-for-8 in red zone efficiency.
|Indianapolis (1-2-0) «||0||10||3||3||16|
IND - Pass: Q. Gray (8-15, 100), Rec: J. Tamme (3-57)|
ATL - Pass: M. Ryan (8-16, 62), Rush: M. Turner (4-113)
|FG||Jason Elam 25 Yd, 10:30. Drive: 7 plays, 76 yards in 4:30.|
|FG||Jason Elam 35 Yd, 4:56. Drive: 5 plays, 68 yards in 2:00.|
|FG||Adam Vinatieri 24 Yd, 11:26. Drive: 17 plays, 85 yards in 8:30.|
|TD||Kelvin Hayden, 67 Yd interception return (Adam Vinatieri kick is good), 0:33.|
|FG||Jason Elam 40 Yd, 11:06. Drive: 5 plays, 19 yards in 2:25.|
|FG||Adam Crossett 20 Yd, 3:55. Drive: 9 plays, 85 yards in 3:10.|
|FG||Adam Crossett 33 Yd, 1:40. Drive: 12 plays, 41 yards in 3:28.|
|Complete Player Stats|