INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Peyton Manning tried to focus on winning
while the home crowd seemed unwilling to accept anything less than
a record-setting night.
Manning threw his 47th touchdown pass of the season to move
within one of Dan Marino's long-standing record and finished with
249 yards to lead the Colts to a 20-10 victory over the Baltimore
Ravens on Sunday night.
But after kneeling twice in the final minute to run out the
clock and passing up a chance at tying Marino's record, the Colts'
franchise player drew an unexpected reaction from the crowd -- boos.
"I can't get over the crowd booing like that," said Manning,
last season's league co-MVP. "I hope those were Baltimore fans,
because that's what you're supposed to do."
His record pursuit aside, Manning did have another good game. He
completed 20 of 33 passes for 249 yards and threw for one touchdown
against Baltimore's stingy defense while extending his NFL record
of consecutive 4,000-yard seasons to six. Manning is now one TD
pass short of Marino's record 20-year-old record of 48 in a season.
The Colts (11-3) won their seventh straight and set up a
showdown with San Diego next week for the No. 3 seed in the AFC.
But it wasn't nearly enough to satisfy a festive crowd that
expected to see history.
Before the game, city officials agreed to build a new
retractable roof stadium that would keep the team in Indianapolis
for 30 more years.
Then fans waved signs and held banners that counted down to the
touchdown mark. They roared after Manning hooked up with Marvin
Harrison on a TD pass in the third quarter and every time after
that when it appeared Manning had a chance to tie the record.
Instead, the Colts settled for two second-half touchdown drives
and a win.
"We're not really focused on that," coach Tony Dungy said of
the record. "We'd like to get it, but we're focused on winning."
The Ravens (8-6) were busy dealing with other matters -- like
their playoff hopes. The loss dropped them into a tie with Buffalo,
Jacksonville and Denver, and they managed to hold the Colts to
their lowest scoring total of the season.
But the Raves also wanted to prevent Manning from making history
against their defense.
"All we've seen on TV this week was Peyton Manning this and
Peyton Manning that," cornerback Gary Baxter said. "We weren't
going to let him set the record against us."
The Ravens stymied Manning by using extra defensive backs and
constant shifts, then controlled the clock by running the ball as
long as it could.
It worked -- for a while.
When Manning returned after a sluggish first half, it didn't
take him long to get the Colts going.
He opened the third period with a 77-yard scoring drive that
ended with a 29-yard TD pass to a wide-open Marvin Harrison, who
burned Chris McAlister with a nifty outside fake before turning
inside. That gave the Colts a 13-3 lead.
Manning also got some help from his teammates.
Mike Vanderjagt kicked two first-half field goals to give
Indianapolis a 6-3 lead in its second-lowest scoring opening half
of the season. Larry Tripplett blocked a field goal that set up the
Colts' second touchdown drive -- a 10-point swing that changed the
Baltimore never recovered after Von Hutchins returned the
blocked kick to the Baltimore 31. Five plays later, Edgerrin James
scored on a 3-yard run to make it 20-3 as fans urged Manning to
throw the ball.
"Their safeties were eyeing Reggie (Wayne) and (Brandon)
Stokley on the outside," Manning said. "It was a no-brainer."
The Ravens responded on their next series. A 64-yard kickoff
return by B.J. Sams set up a 36-yard field goal. When the Colts
were called for offside, the Ravens accepted the penalty and Kyle
Boller threw a 13-yard TD pass to Todd Heap. Boller was 19 of 40
for 210 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
"Those are things you wouldn't do at home," Baltimore coach
Brian Billick said. "But that's an explosive offense to keep
Indianapolis sealed the win when Cato June picked off Boller's
pass and ran it 71 yards to the Baltimore 4, giving Manning one
more chance to tie the record. Fans gave Manning a standing ovation
when he came back onto the field, hoping he would throw.
Instead he knelt down and didn't give the record a second
"If it happens during the course of the game, that's the way
it's meant to be," he said. "It was just good to get the win."
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in the third quarter. ... Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis missed
part of one series in the first half with a sprained wrist. ...
Reggie Wayne caught eight passes for 88 yards to top the 1,000-yard
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