Manning throws for 401 yards, TD


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Edgerrin James softened up the New York
Jets' defense and punter Hunter Smith blasted through it.

Question on the Jets: Is Sunday's outing a sign they need to overhaul the secondary?
They need to overhaul the entire defense, not just the secondary. The Jets' offense played well, but they were handicapped by the poor performance of the defense. This defense seems to have lost its aggressiveness and hunger. There are spots in every game where a team has to make a defensive stop, and the Jets didn't seem to make any of those plays Sunday.

Question on the Colts: Is this offense more impressive than the comeback against Tampa Bay?
This game may have been more impressive because they accrued over 400 yards without their starting tight end Marcus Pollard and receiver Marvin Harrison. Their absence can't be overlooked because they play such an important role in the offense. RB Edgerrin James had a great game and carried this team to a victory with his impressive play.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

While James carried for a season-high 127 yards and three
touchdowns Sunday, it was Smith's 21-yard run on a fake field goal
that gave the Indianapolis Colts a 38-31 victory.

"It just opened wide up," Smith said after scoring his first
touchdown in five NFL seasons. "I think anyone could have scored
on that one."

Perhaps anyone could have scored Sunday, period.

Peyton Manning threw for a season-high 401 yards on a wacky day
for two teams that last met in a lopsided Jets playoff win and are
led by former defensive coaches in Tony Dungy and Herman Edwards.

The game had a little bit of everything.

The Jets (3-7) and Colts combined for 862 total yards, 69 points
and scored on a myriad of big and strange plays -- none more
critical than Smith's go-ahead burst late in the third quarter.

The Colts (8-2) also looked much different than the team that
took a day off in a 41-0 loss to the Jets last January.

This time, Indianapolis' offense pretty much did anything it
wanted despite missing three starters: left tackle Tarik Glenn,
wide receiver Marvin Harrison and tight end Marcus Pollard. It also
lost Harrison's replacement, Troy Walters, with a hamstring injury
during the game.

Yet Manning and James had little trouble exposing the Jets'

James, who complained he wasn't getting enough work after last
week's loss, had 36 carries, second most of his career.

Manning was superb, completing 27 of 36 with one touchdown -- a
46-yarder to Walters. Reggie Wayne caught nine passes for 141
yards, and Dallas Clark had five receptions for 100 yards.

"We said if they could run it and pass it, it was going to be
hard to defend them," Edwards said.

The Colts took advantage of just about everything, including the
Jets' aggressive rush on the field-goal attempt that made Smith the
unlikeliest hero.

New York got two touchdowns from Jonathan Carter, on a 62-yard
touchdown pass and a 90-yard kickoff return. Santana Moss caught a
48-yard TD pass from Chad Pennington and Curtis Conway caught a

Moss broke Don Maynard's franchise record with a touchdown
reception in his sixth straight game.

Pennington completed 11 of 14 passes for 219 yards and three
touchdowns, finishing with a perfect passer rating of 158.3. Curtis
Martin carried 13 times for 105 yards.

The Jets changed the tone of the game quickly in the second
half. Trailing 24-10 at halftime, they scored twice on their first
five plays of the second half and sandwiched Carter's kickoff
return in between to tie the score at 31.

But they were worn down.

"Defensively, we couldn't get off the field enough times,"
said Edwards, who was a defensive assistant on Dungy's staff in
Tampa Bay.

James was the biggest reason. He ran over, through and around
Jets defenders most of the day and rushed for three touchdowns for
the first time since Dec. 9, 2000. He also broke Lydell Mitchell's
franchise rushing record (5,487). James now has 5,540 yards.

"At one point we thought we were going to put them away. We put
them behind by two scores," James said. "But they came back and
we never really got to where we could just grind 'em, grind 'em,
grind 'em."

Late in the third quarter, Manning and James led Indianapolis on
a 57-yard drive. That's when Dungy emptied the playbook.

Mike Vanderjagt, who had made 29 straight field goals, lined up
for a 38-yarder. Smith took the snap, saw an opening and darted 21
yards virtually untouched to the end zone.

"They put nine guys on one side of the left guard and two guys
outside," said Smith, a former high school quarterback. "It was
kind of a no-brainer. We had five-on-two on that side."

The Indianapolis defense held from there, and Manning hit
another big play, a 35-yard pass to Wayne, that fittingly sealed
the outcome.

"Championship teams find ways to win games differently," Dungy
said. "We've won 9-6 games, we've won games where we shut people
down, we won today because we outscored them."

^Notes:@ James' 42 touches tied the franchise record set by
Mitchell in 1974 also against the Jets. ... Vanderjagt extended his
club record to six straight 100-point seasons. ... Carter's 62-yard
touchdown was the first catch of his career. ... Shaun Ellis had
one sack Sunday to give him 10{ this season. He is the 12th player
in Jets history to record double-digit sacks in a season.


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