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Dayne-fueled Texans prevent Colts from clinching bye

HOUSTON (AP) -- Ron Dayne has been called everything from a
disappointment to an all-out bust in his NFL career.

On Sunday nothing was going to stop him from proving -- if only
for one afternoon -- that he was anything but a flop. The 1999
Heisman Trophy winner had a career-high 153 yards rushing and two
touchdowns despite playing three quarters on an injured ankle, and
Kris Brown kicked the winning 48-yard field goal as time expired,
giving the Houston Texans their first win over Indianapolis, 27-24.

Dayne was injured on the first play of the second quarter when
linebacker Gary Brackett hit him helmet-first on his right ankle.
He sat out the rest of the series to get his ankle taped, something
he said he'd never done in a game, and returned to carry the ball
20 more times.

"It was real sore," Dayne said. "I just kept going out there
and every time I'd run and somebody might fall on it, I would come
out. Then I would just go back out there even without them telling
me to. I just wasn't going to be denied today."

The loss kept the AFC South champions from a chance to clinch a
first-round playoff bye.

It was the first time Dayne, released by both the Giants and
Broncos before landing in Houston, gained 100 yards since September
2001 with New York.

"The Texans believed in me and they gave me the opportunity,
and I knew I could run the ball," he said. "I'm just trying to
take advantage of it each week. When I get the ball I'm going to
try to show coach that I want to be here and I want to help this
team win."

The Texans (5-10) used Dayne and rookie Chris Taylor to eat up
the clock and exploit the Colts' suspect run defense, ranked last
in the NFL, while taking pressure off David Carr and the struggling
passing game. The win broke a nine-game losing streak to the Colts
(11-4).

The performance capped a span of four straight solid games in
which Dayne had 429 yards rushing and five touchdowns.

"Bottom line, I don't care who you play, when you play or where
you play, we've got to play better than we played today," said
Colts defensive tackle Anthony McFarland.

Houston led through most of the game until Peyton Manning and
Marvin Harrison connected for their second touchdown, a 7-yard pass
that tied it 24-24 with 2:41 remaining.

Carr and the Texans then engineered a six-play, 31-yard drive
that ended with Brown's winning kick. The much-maligned Houston
quarterback was 16-of-23 for 163 yards and a touchdown and was not
sacked.

"It was really disappointing for us not to come through with a
win down here," said Colts coach Tony Dungy. "But that's the way
everything's been this year."

Dayne scored on runs of 3 and 6 yards on Houston's first two
drives, and fullback Vonta Leach added a touchdown just before
halftime. The Texans added a 42-yard field goal by Brown to stretch
their lead to 24-17 in the fourth quarter.

The loss ruined another record day for Manning, who set an NFL
mark by reaching 4,000 yards passing for the seventh time in his
nine-year career. Manning was 21-of-27 for 205 yards and had three
touchdown passes.

"This is a critical time for us," Manning said. "This is the
time when people on the outside will start pointing fingers. As a
team we need to stay together and guys just need to do their jobs a
little bit better across the board and all three phases of the
game."

He entered the game needing 90 yards to reach the mark and got
it when he found Harrison on an 8-yard pass in the second quarter.
His second touchdown pass of the day, a 9-yarder to Aaron
Moorehead, came four plays later and tied it 14-14.

Indianapolis had a chance to get even again late in the third
quarter, but Manning's feet got tangled up with his center and the
pass fell short, forcing the Colts to settle for a 33-yard field
goal that made it 21-17.

No. 1 overall pick Mario Williams finally emerged for Houston
after a quiet few weeks. He forced Dominic Rhodes' fumble on the
Colts' second play. Anthony Weaver recovered the ball on the
Indianapolis 47.

Dayne's second touchdown run helped the Texans capitalize. He
lowered his head and shook off a defender to cruise into the end
zone for a 6-yard score that put Houston ahead 14-0.

The Colts needed a win over Houston and a loss by Baltimore on
Sunday to secure a playoff bye. Now, that is in jeopardy.

Game notes
Colts running back Joseph Addai had 100 yards rushing to
bring his season total to 1,017 yards, making him the fourth
Indianapolis rookie to reach the 1,000-yard mark. ... Texans WR
Andre Johnson's four catches gives him 101 this season to make him
the 35th player to reach the milestone.

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