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Manning Growing, Colts Losing

September 14, 1998|From Associated Press

FOXBORO, Mass. — Too many turnovers and too little experience add up to two losses for No. 1 draft pick Peyton Manning.

He committed four turnovers--including three interceptions for the second consecutive week--in learning some harsh NFL lessons as the New England Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts, 29-6, on Sunday night.

Like don't lob the ball toward an outstanding cornerback such as Ty Law.

"He's a little bit immature right now, but I know it's not going to be that easy the next go-around," said Law, who returned one interception for a 59-yard touchdown and had another in the end zone.

Those interceptions and a fumble by Manning led to 13 points as the Patriots (1-1) built a 16-0 halftime lead.

"When you're playing a team that you should beat, you need to put it on them early," said Patriot quarterback Drew Bledsoe, the top pick in the 1993 draft. "We won it by quite a bit, but there are some obvious things we need to address."

Not as many as Manning does as he tries to live up to his status as the top pick in this year's draft and bring the Colts (0-2) back from their NFL-worst 3-13 record of last season.

"Two of those [interceptions] were just poor decisions on my part. Actually, all of them were," Manning said. "I have to be patient, but our goal is to win. We have to learn from our mistakes."

Colt Coach Jim Mora tried not to let Manning take all the blame.

"I'm not going to give up on him by a long shot," said Mora. "Everybody contributes to a win and everybody also contributes to a loss."

The Patriots took a 23-0 lead on their first series of the third quarter on Bledsoe's three-yard touchdown pass to Terry Glenn.

Bledsoe, playing in his third different offensive system in three years, completed 15 of 29 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown as the Patriots were turnover-free for the second straight week.

Manning was 21 for 33 for 188 yards and a touchdown, but hope that he could rally the Colts ended with his third interception, to Chris Canty late in the third quarter.

"You get guys like Dan Marino, Drew, [John] Elway, those guys are not going to make some of the throws that Peyton made," Law said. "That's all part of growing up."

The Colts avoided a shutout when Manning passed to Torrance Small for a three-yard touchdown with 4:09 left.

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